Dr. Brett L. Johnson

General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Don’t Let Gingivitis be the Grinch that Steals Your Oral Health

At Oregon City Dentistry, Dr. Brett Johnson and his friendly staff want to ensure that all of their patients enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. While brushing and flossing can help to ensure that you maintain quality oral health, you also need to schedule regular checkups with Dr. Johnson so he can check for any potential signs of gum disease.

If you have red, sore gums that tend to bleed after brushing your teeth, you may have gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. In the U.S., 75 percent of all adults will suffer from gum disease at some point in their lives, according to statistics compiled by the American Dental Association. Of those cases, 75 percent result in gingivitis, while the remaining 25 percent will develop into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that often results in tooth loss. Fortunately, by practicing proper oral care, you can easily prevent gingivitis.

Causes of Gingivitis

When you don’t brush and floss your teeth nightly, you allow deposits of plaque, a sticky film of food particles and bacteria, to form around your teeth. Plaque feeds on food particles to produce damaging acids that can slowly wear away at the health of teeth enamel, eventually leading to decay. Once plaque has remained on your teeth for 72 hours it begins to harden into tartar, which can no longer be removed by brushing. To remove a buildup of tartar, you must schedule a cleaning with Dr. Johnson. If tartar is allowed to remain on your teeth, it begins to make cleaning your teeth while brushing difficult. Over time, these plaque and tartar deposits will begin to irritate and inflame your gums, causing gingivitis.

Does Gingivitis Always Lead to Severe Gum Disease?

While the majority of dentists used to believe that if left untreated, gingivitis would eventually develop into periodontitis, recent research has shown that’s not always the case. Researchers now believe that how a person’s body reacts to the buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth determines whether they will develop a more serious form of gum disease. Research has found that periodontitis may develop due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Bacteria. While there are over 400 different types of bacteria species living in your mouth, only roughly 15 of them can cause severe gum disease.
  • Genetics. Researchers believe that roughly 30 percent of the population has a genetic predisposition to develop gum disease.
  • Unmanaged diabetes. Individuals suffering from diabetes have an increased risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease and diabetes feed off each other, as individuals with uncontrolled diabetes have a difficult time fighting infection such as gum disease, and diabetics with gum disease have a harder time managing their disease.
  • Smoking. The American Dental Association attributes nearly 75 percent of all cases of periodontal disease to smoking.

While these risk factors might make a person more likely to develop a more serious form of gum disease, there’s no way of telling. This makes scheduling regular checkups with Dr. Johnson all that more important so he can examine your mouth for any signs of gum irritation.

Symptom of Gingivitis

The early symptoms of gingivitis are often quite mild and easy to miss if you don’t know that you have developed the disease. Given enough time, you might begin to notice such symptoms as:

  • Swollen, red, or purplish gums. When healthy, your gums should appear bright pink and firm.
  • Bleeding gums. You notice blood mixed with your saliva when spitting out toothpaste or on your toothbrush.
  • Tender gums that feel sore to the touch
  • Mouth sores

If you notice any of these symptoms and believe you might suffer from gum disease, you should begin to examine what aspects of your oral hygiene routine need improving. For example, if you don’t spend enough time brushing, the ADA recommends you spend at least two minutes every time you brush, consider putting a clock in or near the bathroom. If you often forget to floss, place a note near your toothbrush to remind yourself to floss today. By focusing on these little changes, you can make a dramatic improvement to your oral health and avoid developing gum disease.

Preventing Gingivitis

To enjoy healthy teeth and gums while avoiding gum disease, you need practice the following oral care habits.

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes at a time, twice a day. Make sure you use toothpaste that contains fluoride and a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating gum tissue during brushing.
  • Floss daily. Flossing does more than just remove lingering food particles that become stuck between teeth. It also cleans plaque from areas your brush could not otherwise reach.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash as part of your nightly oral health regimen. A mouthwash can not only reduce your risk of gingivitis, it can also help to eliminate persistent bad breath.
  • Schedule regular checkups and cleanings with Dr Johnson at least every six months.

By following these easy, daily steps, you can ensure your gums stay healthy and disease free, just another helpful reminder from your best choice for family dentist Oregon City has to offer: Oregon City Dentistry

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