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Treatment for Gingivitis: How to Reverse Gum Disease

By Dr. Everett Heringer on September 07, 2018


Four-panel digital illustration of stages of gum diseaseGingivitis is the most common type of gum disease and can develop in patients of all ages. Fortunately, this condition can be addressed with restorative dentistry that improve oral health. If detected early, gingivitis can often be treated with a routine dental cleaning.

Here, our team at Heringer Dentistry in Bismarck, ND discusses treatment for gingivitis, as well as common causes and symptoms of this condition.

About Gingivitis

Characterized by red, swollen, tender gums, gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. This condition typically develops when excessive plaque has accumulated on the teeth and around the gum line. When plaque is not removed, the resulting bacteria begin to irritate the gum tissue, triggering an inflammatory response.

If gingivitis is present, we recommend treating it right away. Ignoring the issue can cause the condition to progress into periodontitis, which erodes the supporting jawbone.

Is Gingivitis Contagious?

According to the American Dental Association, the bacteria that cause gingivitis can be spread to others through the exchange of saliva. Family members can lower this risk by practicing good oral hygiene and not sharing toothbrushes or eating utensils. If you or a loved one is exhibiting symptoms of gingivitis, it is a good idea to schedule a periodontal evaluation.

What Causes Gingivitis?

As aforementioned, plaque buildup is the most common cause of gingivitis. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase your chances of developing the condition, such as:

  • Being over the age of 65
  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Tobacco use
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Stress
  • A compromised immune system
  • Poor diet
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hormone fluctuations (puberty, pregnancy, menopause)

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Healthy teeth should be pink and taut around the teeth. Telltale signs of gingivitis include:

  • Dark red or purple gums
  • Swollen or puffy gum tissue
  • Tender gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • A receding gum line
  • Persistent bad breath

Keep in mind that gum disease has been linked to a wide range of serious health issues, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and more. Therefore, if you notice any of the warning signs listed above, schedule a consultation with your dentist right away.

Can Gingivitis be Reversed?

One advantage of treating gum disease early is that gingivitis can be reversed with proper treatment. This is because bone loss does not occur until the disease progresses into periodontitis. Once bone loss is underway, it can be difficult to reach the affected areas without more invasive treatments.

Treatment for Gingivitis

Fortunately, gingivitis can typically be reversed with a simple dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene. During this visit, your hygienist removes plaque, bacteria, and other irritants, giving your gum tissue a chance to recover. However, it is important to routinely remove plaque and tartar through brushing and flossing at home.

What if My Gingivitis Worsens?

If you wait too long to treat gingivitis, it can progress into periodontitis. As mentioned above, this condition causes bone loss around the teeth.

To effectively address periodontitis, professional gum treatments will be necessary. Mild to moderate periodontitis can be treated with scaling and root planing, or a deep dental cleaning.

Advanced periodontitis frequently requires gum surgery. Therefore, treating gum disease early can save you time and money in the long run.

Contact Our Practice Today

To learn more about treatment for gingivitis or any of the other restorative procedures offered at our practice, schedule a consultation. Contact us online or give us a call at (701) 255-4850.

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1839 E Capitol Ave
Bismarck, ND 58501

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