You’re brushing your teeth one fine evening and spit out your toothpaste…and you see blood. Not a lot, but enough to make you worry. What’s going on?
In all likelihood, what you’re dealing with is gingivitis.
What the heck is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is also called “gum disease.” Basically, it’s inflammation of your gums. (In dental speak, gums are “gingiva.”)
How did this happen to you? Well, bacteria accumulates on the teeth in the form of biofilm, a.k.a. plaque. Plaque is the sticky whitish stuff that builds up on your teeth. The way your teeth feel fuzzy after nibbling at Easter candy all day? That’s plaque.
Your gums respond to plaque as they do to other bacteria in the body: they develop inflammation.
If you look at your gums, you might notice that they look puffy and red, in addition to bleeding with flossing and brushing. That’s the inflammatory process at work.
Inflammation is the body’s way of dealing with the bacteria and can definitely be destructive.
If unchecked, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, which leads to destruction of tissues in your mouth, which leads to tooth loss. We hate that.
So, what can you do about gingivitis?
1. Floss once a day and brush twice a day.
Flossing and brushing get rid of the sticky plaque on your teeth. Your gums are happier and healthier and the inflammation doesn’t happen. Having trouble with your home dental care or not sure you’re doing it right? Talk to your hygienist the next time you’re in. She’s a great resource and can give you tips to make brushing and flossing more effective and find what works for you.
2. Visit our team regularly.
Your regular hygiene appointments are important in removing calculus (a.k.a. tartar), which is what plaque turns into when it’s not removed. In certain areas of your mouth, where saliva accumulates or you have trouble reaching, calculus removal is key in keeping your gums healthy. You can remove plaque on your own at home, but calculus is really hard and can only be removed by your dental professionals.
3. Watch the amount of sugar you’re consuming.
We love Mini Eggs as much as the next person, but we also know that sugar is what feeds the bacteria in your mouth and helps it grow into that layer that covers your teeth. Yuck. We highly recommend consuming your sugar with a meal, in a quick dose (rather than spreading it out over several hours), and rinsing with water afterward. Your regular brushing and flossing should take care of the rest.
Are you concerned that you have gingivitis? If you live in the Saskatoon area, give us a call at 306-955-7000 and book your hygiene appointment so we can take a look.