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Gingivitis 101: Recognizing the Early Signs of Gum Disease

Gingivitis 101: Recognizing the Early Signs of Gum Disease

You’ve read the stats and realize there’s almost a 50% chance you’ll develop gum disease. But how can you protect yourself from gingivitis?

In this blog, Dr. Ryan Fait and our Southern California General & Cosmetic Dentistry team, located in Long Beach and Avalon, California, discuss the early signs of gingivitis and how to prevent it from progressing.

Understanding gingivitis

Gingivitis is the mild and early stage of gum disease that occurs when bacteria build up on your teeth and gums. Eventually, these bacteria settle into your tissues and cause inflammation. Poor oral hygiene is the most common culprit, but smoking, hormonal changes, and certain medications can also cause gingivitis.

Spotting the signs

The most obvious signs are red and swollen gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing. You may also notice bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth. 

Receding gums that pull away from your teeth and make them look longer also indicate gingivitis. If you notice any of these signs, come to see us immediately to prevent gingivitis from progressing.

Getting help

You can prevent gingivitis from worsening by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily, floss at least once daily, and schedule regular check-ups to catch any signs of gingivitis early on.

If you already have gingivitis, don't worry — it's treatable! The first step is to schedule a cleaning with our gingivitis expert. During the cleaning, we remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. We may also recommend a special mouthwash or toothpaste to help kill the bacteria causing the gingivitis.

In addition to professional treatment, there are some steps you can take at home to help improve your oral health, like using an antiseptic mouthwash to kill the bacteria and prevent it from building up on your teeth and gums. You can also try using an interdental brush or water flosser to clean between your teeth and gums.

Keep in mind that certain lifestyle choices may increase your risk of gingivitis. Smoking, for example, is a significant risk factor for gum disease, and quitting can greatly improve your oral health. Limiting sugary and acidic foods that contribute to bacterial growth helps, too.

The bottom line

If you notice any signs of gingivitis, such as red or swollen gums, receding gums, or bad breath, see Dr. Fait as soon as possible. By taking action early, you can prevent gingivitis from progressing and keep your gums and teeth healthy for years to come.

Call or click to make your appointment at either our Long Beach or Avalon, California, offices today. 

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