What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is gum inflammation, usually signified by localized spots of bleeding in the gum during brushing or flossing. It's common to have small amounts of gingivitis, especially if you haven't been regular with your dental hygiene or your routine dental cleanings. However, widespread gingivitis is concerning as it indicates negligence in maintaining dental hygiene or not getting dental cleanings regularly.

How does this happen?

Plaque, the fuzzy layer that forms on our teeth when we don't brush for a while, consists of bacteria. These bacteria release toxins that cause gum inflammation and bleeding, leading to gingivitis. If your gums are hurting, it's due to inflammation caused by toxins released from the bacteria on your teeth. Healthy gums should not hurt or bleed.

What can be done if the gums are bleeding?

There are a few things you can do at home. Using a Sonicare toothbrush is recommended as it breaks up the plaque effectively due to its vibrating action. It's the best toothbrush available in the market, though Oral-B is a good option too. However, he has used both and believes that Sonicare is superior. He recommends it to all his patients. Flossing is another important aspect as it cleans the areas between teeth that a toothbrush can't reach. Only about 10% of the population flosses, but many dental issues begin between the teeth. You can use floss picks, water picks, or go-between brushes, but I personally prefer floss. Regular brushing, flossing and maintenance can prevent gingivitis from getting out of control. If you have a minor bleeding spot, don't shy away from it but rather, brush and floss more. If you still can't see improvement, you might need to get a cleaning done.

What do we want to prevent with gingivitis?

The aim is to prevent gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis, which is a serious gum disease. Untreated gum inflammation can lead to this disease where the bone pulls back from the tooth. For any questions on gingivitis, gum health or to schedule a cleaning, please call us at our office at (703) 451-4500.