If your dentist has recently informed you that you have gingivitis, you've probably already been informed about the steps to take to prevent further gum damage, such as more frequent brushing and flossing. However, what if you're already suffering negative effects from your gum disease? Can these symptoms be reversed or even eliminated? Read on to learn more about gingivitis and steps you can take to not only prevent further damage, but alleviate any symptoms you're already experiencing.
What does gingivitis do?
Gingivitis is an oral disease that leads to inflammation of the gum tissue. Essentially, the bacteria in your mouth (from food and drink) multiply, if not quickly and thoroughly cleaned; this bacteria colony sets off an immune reaction as your body attacks not only the bacteria, but also your gum tissue. If you notice that your gums bleed easily or frequently while brushing or flossing, you may be in the beginning stages of gingivitis.
If left untreated, this inflammation can eventually cause your gums to recede, or even break down the bones holding your teeth inside your jaw. Either of these side effects can result in tooth loss -- and, in many cases of tooth loss, the jawbone is degraded so much that dental implants are no longer an option.
Can you reverse the effects of gingivitis?
The good news is that if you've been visiting the dentist, like those at Becker & Amalfitano DDS, SC, regularly, it's very unlikely that your gingivitis has advanced enough that it can't be reversed or even eliminated. Even if you've skipped a few checkups recently, you may be able to stop the gingivitis and prevent any further damage.
- There are several types of mouthwash specifically formulated to help prevent or treat gingivitis. Using one of these mouthwashes, or any mouthwash that bills itself as "antibacterial," can help kill off any of the harmful bacteria that lead to gingivitis and other types of gum disease.
- Frequent brushing
- If you find yourself too tired to brush before bed, or tend to forget that part of your nightly routine, consider brushing just after dinner. One of the quickest ways to grow plaque (the main cause of gingivitis) is to allow food particles and bacteria to grow in your mouth overnight.
- Regular flossing
- Flossing is also key to healthy gums, as it removes hard-to-reach food particles that can harbor bacteria. You'll want to floss at least once per day, preferably before bed.
The good news is that by doing each of the above, you can reverse the effects of gingivitis in as little as a few weeks.