What Does Gingivitis Do To Your Teeth?


We’ve all probably heard the term “gingivitis” sometime in our lives, but what does it really mean? And what does it do to your teeth? Gingivitis is essentially an inflammation of the gums. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Except that gingivitis is the first step towards gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). The CDC reports that about half of American adults suffer from gum disease (or about 64.7 million Americans). You can blame plaque and bacteria for gingivitis, as it is caused when plaque builds up on the teeth and begins to break down the tooth enamel. Plaque is essentially a layer of bacteria on your teeth, and must be combated daily through brushing, flossing and overall good oral hygiene to keep your teeth healthy. Some signs of gingivitis can be red, swollen or tender gums, but those symptoms can multiply and worsen if gum disease sets in. It can even lead to tooth loss, infections, and weaker bones in the jaw and teeth if nothing is done. At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, we want to protect your oral health the best we can. Call us today for your checkup and cleaning and to learn more about gingivitis.


Gingivitis: What Is It?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and is actually the first stage of gum disease. If you have gum disease, gingivitis is the farthest you want to ever get with it, as it is the easiest to treat. What causes it? The actual start of gum disease (or gingivitis) comes from bacteria-infested plaque that sits on your teeth and erodes the tooth enamel, especially where the gums meet the teeth. Plaque usually is a colorless and sticky film of bacteria on the teeth so you may not even notice it if you don’t look closely. How to combat the gingivitis? Brushing and flossing several times a day is your best protection.  Gingivitis can lead to red, swollen and tender gums and they might even bleed when you brush your teeth. If you see your teeth bleeding more than usual when you floss, that bleeding could be a sign of gingivitis.


Gum Disease

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease and is when inflammation and other signs of gingivitis progress until the gums start receding or pulling away from your teeth. Your gums will have a more noticeable line around the teeth and you may see the teeth appear elongated because the gums are receding. With extensive gum disease, teeth will actually become loose and fall out. Gum disease can cause pockets to form between the teeth and the gums, further accelerating tooth decay and recession. Trust us, gum disease is not something you want! And it can all be prevented with proper oral care habits.


How Common Is Gingivitis and Gum Disease?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that HALF of all American adults have periodontal disease. That means half of all adults have allowed their gingivitis to turn into progressed gum disease. That number equates to about 64.7 million adults. 8.7% have mild periodontitis (gum disease), 30% have moderate periodontitis and 8.5% have severe periodontitis that usually results in tooth loss. About 78 million Americans are missing one or more teeth in their mouth and besides injury and trauma, gum disease progressed from gingivitis is usually the cause. Keeping your mouth clean via good oral hygiene practices can literally keep your teeth from falling out!


What Do We Do to Prevent Gum Disease?

As always, the first step to good oral health is making set habits at home and making them early. We always recommend that you brush and floss at least twice daily. Notice how we said “at least”. That means that you can always do more than that. Cleaning your teeth after every meal would be the most ideal. What do we do at our office to prevent and combat gum disease?

  • Comprehensive Exam – The American Dental Association defines a comprehensive oral exam as an “extensive evaluation” of the extraoral, intraoral and soft tissues. That means we clean and review all aspects of your mouth, especially the gums and teeth. You should come in for biannual comprehensive exams and cleanings to keep your oral health the best it can be.
  • Laser Cavity Detection – We not only check your teeth with appliances, but we also take x-rays of your teeth and use the revolutionary technology of Laser Cavity Detection. This technology is used to detect cavities inside the teeth when they are tiny and before they can cause a lot of damage. With our laser, we can expose hidden cavities through light reflection. If a tooth is healthy, the light will pass through it. When there is a cavity present, the light will be reflected.
  • Periodontal Treatments – Besides cavity treatment, root canals and sealants, we also provide surgical and non-surgical treatments for gum disease. Our non-surgical approaches utilize deep cleanings via scaling and root planing, devices such as night guards, regular cleanings and antibiotic treatment to the gumline. Our surgical procedures for advanced gum disease involve bone-grafting, dental implants, gum pocket reduction and surgical procedures to your ridge and crown.

Avoid surgical treatments by not allowing your gingivitis to progress to gum disease or periodontal disease. Gingivitis is something that you have the power to combat as soon as it appears, right in your very own home. We will do all that we can to prevent the negative effects of gingivitis and gum disease as best as possible, but we always stress the importance of keeping your teeth clean. If you notice any changes in your gums or teeth, call our Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies office today at (970) 223-8425 today!