How to Spot Gingivitis

How to Spot Gingivitis

by Holly (SU)

Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth? If so, you may be one of the nearly 50% of Americans 30 years or older who is suffering from gingivitis.  But how do you know for sure and what can you do about it? Here’s how you can spot gingivitis.

First, what is it?

Gingivitis is the mild stage of gum disease that occurs when tartar and plaque are allowed to form on your teeth. This can be the result of poor dental care, chewing or smoking tobacco, diabetes or medications such as cancer treatment drugs, steroids, or oral contraceptives. Most often, it is due to infrequent or improper brushing and flossing, which enable bacteria to inflame your gums.


Gingivitis symptoms include soreness, bleeding or swollen gums. However, there are other clues to tell whether you’re a candidate before it gets to that point.  Your gums should be firm and pink. Having red and puffy gums – or if they are receding gums and you have bad breath – early signs of gingivitis that require immediate attention.

Advanced Gum Disease

If left untreated, gingivitis can advance to periodontal disease or, much worse, periodontitis. At this point, not only do your gums swell, but the inflammation may be so severe that you lose the tissue that holds your teeth in place. Consequently, your teeth will feel loose and, unless you take action, you could lose them as well. Periodontitis also has been linked to systemic diseases, such as coronary artery disease, respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke. That’s because periodontitis bacteria can enter your bloodstream and affect your heart, lungs and other organs.

Also, since it is a type of bacterial infection, gingivitis is contagious and can be spread through saliva exchange when sharing a cup, utensils, or through kissing.

Prevention is Key

The good news is that gingivitis is reversible. All it takes is a professional cleaning performed by a dental hygienist and more thorough and conscientious brushing and flossing on your part. Here are several ways you can prevent gingivitis before it starts:

·       Maintain proper dental care. Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to eliminate plaque. Toothpaste containing hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and mouthwashes containing alcohol or chlorhexidine are especially effective in preventing or getting rid of gingivitis.

·       Refrain from smoking or otherwise using tobacco products. Period.

·       Eat a healthy diet. Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates and sugar may increase your risk of gum disease as they create an environment ideal for bacteria and plaque to thrive. Instead, eat whole foods that contain essential nutrients and are low in sugar, like vegetables. If you can’t help yourself and occasionally eat foods with a high sugar content, rinse your mouth and then brush and floss your teeth soon afterward.

·       Have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. Your dentist will use a scaling and root planning procedure to remove all the tartar, plaque and bacteria from your teeth.

If you’re concerned about developing gingivitis, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about the right preventative measures. The experts at 360 Dental are here to help you maintain good oral hygiene and improve your smile. Call 360 Dental Group at 541-689-1645 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Binder today for a healthy smile that will light up the room