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What Is Gingivitis?

What Is Gingivitis?
Laughlin Dental
Hello, Pasadena! At Laughlin Dental, we're not just about teeth. We're about building lasting relationships with every patient who walks through our doors. Led by Dr. Lloyd Laughlin, our practice is dedicated to providing judgment-free, quality dental care that's accessible to everyone.
BY Laughlin Dental

Are you afraid that you may have gingivitis? Possibly heard of this gum condition and its consequences? If so, what is gingivitis, the gum problem affecting roughly half of all American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? How can you prevent it?

What Is Gingivitis Exactly?

So, what is gingivitis? Specifically, it’s an inflammation of the gums, the earliest stage of gum disease. This stage is treatable if you catch gingivitis early.

Gingivitis comes from plaque. Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria covering your teeth and gums. However, you fight plaque twice each day when brushing your teeth and flossing. When you do not remove your plaque, it produces toxins that inflame your gums and cause gingivitis.

This process is early in gum disease, and dentists can treat your condition. It does not yet affect your bones and connective tissues, so you have hope for reversing your gum problem before it causes greater damage. However, left untreated, you experience periodontitis and possibly permanent damage to your teeth and jaw.

Do I Have Gingivitis?

The early signs of gingivitis include red, tender and swollen gums. Moreover, sometimes these gums bleed during toothbrushing. Gingivitis also makes your gums recede or pull away from your teeth, making your teeth look longer. Your gums pull away from your teeth, forming pockets where plaque and other debris build-ups.

Preventing Gingivitis

Preventing gingivitis is possible. In fact, this starts with good oral hygiene. You also need regular professional cleanings. These dental office cleanings remove tartar; built-up plaque your toothbrush or routine oral care miss.

Prevent gingivitis by following basic practices, including:

  • Properly brushing your teeth twice daily to remove plaque and other debris
  • Properly flossing your teeth each day, also to remove plaque and debris
  • Quitting smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings

These simple steps start in early childhood and continue throughout your life. However, proper brushing includes more than just the act of brushing your teeth. You also need to ensure you use an ADA recommended fluoride toothpaste. Ensure you use a toothbrush in good condition and replace your brush when needed.