Gingivitis is a buzzword that is commonly mentioned in ads for toothbrushes, mouth wash, or tooth paste. But it is easy to overlook this treatable – and reversible – form of gum disease.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the first and mildest stage of gum disease. It is preventable, treatable, and reversible – good news for those who have it! Gum disease occurs when the plaque on the teeth accumulates and hardens over time. Poor brushing, irregular flossing, and infrequent dental visits can all put you at risk of developing gingivitis. Other lifestyle factors, such as poor nutrition, smoking or chewing tobacco, pregnancy, or certain medications can also increase the risk of gingivitis.
Multiple studies have shown significant links between the amount of bacteria in the mouth and increased rates of gum disease. While gingivitis is a relatively mild form of gum disease, if left untreated it can progress to periodontitis. This much more serious form of gum disease causes more than just bleeding gums; when periodontitis occurs, the body forms an immune response to the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. This causes the bone and tissue that supports the teeth to be destroyed.
Symptoms of gingivitis
Most of the symptoms of gingivitis are extremely mild. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing normally
- Color change from pink to red
- Tender or swollen gums
- Receding gum line; teeth appear larger or elongated
- Pockets between teeth where food or plaque collects
- Chronic bad breath or a “bad taste” in the mouth
Gingivitis is easily treatable and reversible by practicing good oral health! The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends preventing gingivitis by:
- Brushing twice per day
- Flossing once per day, particularly in the evenings
- Eating a balanced diet
- Avoiding cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products
- Visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings
In between dental appointments or no time to brush teeth after every meal or snack during the day? Look for products containing xylitol, a natural sweeter than helps prevent the buildup of plaque in the mouth. All 4ever Mints products contain xylitol, making them the perfect choice for keeping your breath fresh and your mouth – and gums – healthy!