What is Gingivitis, and What Does it Mean to You?

Have you ever noticed redness, swelling, or irritation in the part of your gum around the base of your teeth? Perhaps a little pink in the sink when you spit after brushing? So, What is gingivitis? It might be due to a common condition known as Gingivitis. While fairly common, Gingivitis is often caused by poor oral health. 

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Pale pink and firm gums are a sign of good gum health. Symptoms of But, what is gingivitis? You may have it if you experience the following signs:

  • Tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bleed easy when floss or brush
  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Dark red gums

What Causes Gingivitis? 

The most common cause of Gingivitis is poor oral health that encourages plaque to form on teeth, causing inflammation of the gum tissue. 

Rub your tongue against your teeth right now. Do you feel a sticky film? It may be plaque build-up mainly composed of bacteria that forms on the teeth when sugars and starches interact with bacteria found in the mouth. It would help to brush your teeth daily to rid the mouth of this build-up. 

When you don’t brush daily, the plaque will build up and harden under the gumline, forming tartar (or calculus), further collecting bacteria. Think of tartar as a protective shield for bacteria. Unfortunately, it makes it super difficult to remove the plaque and irritates the gums. It’s so difficult to remove that you need professional dental cleaning to remove it. 

The longer the plaque and tartar stay on the teeth, the more they bug the gingiva, leading to inflammation in that area. In time, your gums may become swollen and bleed easier than usual. If not treated, it can lead to tooth loss or periodontitis. That’s why it’s so important to contact us if you’re experiencing these symptoms. 

Gingivitis More Than a Gum Disease

A little pink in the sink may be from a common and mild form of gum disease, but some serious risks are involved if left untreated, especially on the heart. 

One of the most common chronic cardiovascular conditions is hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension can damage the arteries by making them less elastic, decreasing blood flow and oxygen to the heart, and can lead to heart disease. But did you know poor oral health could result in hypertension? 

In the Journal of Periodontology, one study of 20,000 adults found that people with poor oral hygiene habits, such as in-frequency teeth brushing, were more likely to suffer from hypertension. Conversely, individuals who brushed twice a day and used mouthwash and floss were less likely to suffer from hypertension. 

In another study, researchers asked 68 people about their tooth-brushing behavior. According to the research, “after adjusting for various factors, they found that those who said they brushed less than twice a day for less than two minutes had a three-fold increased risk compared to those who said they brushed at least twice a day for at least two minutes.” 

Brushing twice a day for the full two minutes is the way to go and will lower the chances of developing gum disease (that may lead to heart disease). Schedule an appointment if you are concerned about a bit of pink in the sink or are ready for a check-up with our friendly, non-judgmental dentists. We’d love to have you in our chair!