You may not have heard of gingivitis, but it’s something everybody needs to be aware of. Gingivitis is one of the most common dental conditions in the UK and is a leading cause of tooth loss. You will probably have heard of its colloquial name – gum disease – and may even have suffered from it, or suspect you are suffering from it now. If that’s the case then it’s time to book a check-up with the dentist.
Gum disease comes in two forms. The first and most common stage is gingivitis, which most people will suffer from at some point in life. It’s caused by plaque bacteria building up on your teeth. If this bacteria isn’t removed, your gums become irritated and may become painful, swollen and prone to bleeding.
If gingivitis is not treated, it will only get worse and will develop into periodontitis, which can lead to more serious, unpleasant symptoms including loose teeth, abscesses on the gums and even tooth loss.
That’s why, as soon as you experience symptoms of gum disease, you should contact your dentist or hygienist. Early signs of gingivitis include:
- Swollen and/or painful gums
- Blood on the toothbrush or in the sink when you brush your teeth
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
One problem with gingivitis, however, is that in the early stages symptoms may be hard to spot. That’s why it’s vital to attend regular dental check-ups and hygienist appointments. Not only are dentists and hygienists best-placed to recognise the early signs of the condition, but also six-monthly dental hygiene appointments will ensure that your teeth are professionally cleaned, getting rid of all plaque that may have built up in areas that are hard to reach yourself.
When spotted early, gingivitis can easily be managed and treated. Your hygienist will also provide you with professional tips on home care, demonstrating the best brushing and flossing techniques and recommending products such as interdental brushes, as well as providing dietary advice, to minimise the chances of the condition recurring in the future.