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What is Gingivitis?

What is gingivitisYou just left your dentist and the news wasn’t great. What you thought was a simple case of brushing too hard, has now been diagnosed as gingivitis. Like most people, you wonder if you could have done more to prevent this. You may also be wondering just what exactly gingivitis is. Look no further, we have the answers to your gingivitis questions.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is defined as inflammation of the gums. It’s a simple definition for a surprisingly complex topic. When diagnosed with gingivitis, the definition is more than a symptom of inflammation. Gingivitis is described as tender, swollen gums. They could also be bright red and sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure. While gingivitis is a common problem, it could potentially lead to other gum diseases and eventual tooth loss.

Can You Catch Gingivitis?

Most people don’t realize that gingivitis is contagious. Because it’s considered an infection, it acts just like other infections. Therefore, if you sharing food or even kiss someone with gingivitis, you can absolutely introduce those bacteria to your mouth. So yes, you should take caution if you’re regularly with someone with gingivitis.

The good news is that by taking care of your own oral health, this disease is treatable. Brushing, rinsing, and flossing help prevents germs from settling into your gums. Just like the rest of your body fights infection best when it’s healthy, healthy gums withstand a brush with bacteria.

How Do You Get Gingivitis?

The life of gingivitis starts out as a simple plaque source. When you eat or drink, the bacteria on your teeth eat the same food you do. Unfortunately, they also excrete that food, in the form of plaque. Plaque is the soft, almost white substance that you brush and floss off every time you clean your teeth. Plaque is not good, but regularly brushing and flossing keeps it mild. When you miss your cleaning, plaque builds up and accumulates into tartar. This is a hard substance that is very difficult to get off on your own. Most people experience some tartar build up, but have it removed during regular cleanings. This is why your six-month cleanings at the dentist are important; they keep tartar build-up under control.

When left unchecked, tartar begins to extend above and below the gum line. In time, gingivitis develops. Your gums become soft, inflamed, and sensitive. Gingivitis symptoms make your mouth so uncomfortable. If left uncheck, gingivitis eventually causes gum separation, bad breath, and bleeding.

How to Get Rid of Gingivitis

There are home remedies that claim to address gingivitis, however, it’s best if you see your dentist about it. Because the root cause of gingivitis is tartar build up under your gums, it’s difficult for your toothbrush to reach all these areas. The symptoms of gingivitis can be treated with home remedies. For example, gently swishing diluted hydrogen peroxide helps to treat symptoms in your gums. However, to cure gingivitis, you should make a trip to see your dentist. They can clean your teeth and help you establish the good brushing and flossing habits that will keep you healthy.

How to Prevent Gingivitis

You can prevent gingivitis the same way you prevent cavities, with brushing and flossing. The best way to prevent gingivitis is to stop plaque from building up and forming tartar, to begin with. You can begin by carrying a small, travel toothbrush and travel floss with you to work, etc. In time, brushing becomes a simple habit. Until then, make yourself a checklist and check off brushing and flossing 3-4 times a day. Your teeth will thank you.

Gingivitis symptoms are uncomfortable even at the start, but they just get worse with time. Your dentist can diagnose gingivitis and help you control it. You’re going to have to prevent gingivitis yourself, through good brushing and flossing. If someone you love has gingivitis, exercise caution. Yes, it can be contagious—but you can protect yourself.




tongue ScrapeMore than seventy percent of the bacteria in the mouth reside on the convoluted surface of the tongue. A majority of the remainder is around the gum line of the teeth. To reduce the number of these bacteria is to control problems with mouth odor. Some individuals have more trouble than others because we all have a unique formulation of these microorganisms and some varieties produce more of the sulfurous compounds which are the big offenders in cases of bad breath.

Dr. Guy Peabody D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Dentist, recommends Continue Reading →