What is gingivitis and how do I know if I have it?

Go to the mirror, pull your lip back, up around lower, and look at your gum tissue right around the teeth. If they are red, if they are inflamed, if they're swollen, if they're painful, if they bleed easily to the touch, then you most likely have gingivitis or worse, which would be periodontitis.

What causes gingivitis?

Frankly, the cause is not cleaning the teeth correctly or frequently enough. Rotten food coupled with bacteria equals really angry gum tissue.

What problems can be caused if gingivitis is not treated?

That really angry tissue response eventually leads to increased bone loss, which eventually can lead to the loss of your teeth as the foundation is eroded away. It's the early signs of a much bigger problem that we really want to tackle before it becomes the bigger problem.

What are the treatment steps?

Step one is at home, starting to become a rock star with your home care. That would mean flossing two to three times a day and doing it well, not just whipping through there and just making your gums bleed, but actually scrubbing the sides, each side of the tooth in between the teeth. Secondly, brushing two to three times a day to get the bacteria and the plaque off. Thirdly would be adding some warm salt water rinses while we know we have a problem. The second step and an absolutely required step if we want to solve this long-term problem is to get in and see a hygienist who will do a professional cleaning. They will evaluate your mouth and offer coaching to ensure you’re doing the very best practices at home. They will also clean the hardened deposits that are impossible for you to remove.

How long does it take to treat gingivitis?

With really good home care, with a professional cleaning from a hygienist, and then continued really good home care, we usually see pretty significant improvement within 7 to 10 days and then minor healing beyond that. Primary concern with gingivitis is that it's a warning sign that worse things are coming. We want to deal with that problem and then get you back on track before we start to have much bigger problems.

If you need help, if you think you have gingivitis or worse, and you're in the Oroville area, please give us a call at Daniel Appel, DDS, at 530-533-7545. If you are not in the Oroville area and you are in need of a good dentist, I would strongly review going and looking at Google reviews. You're specifically looking for the details in the reviews that show that the office culture is one that's very focused on comfortable care, good communication, and basically just focused on kindness with their patients. That goes a long way, and that information about the office's culture is really for your benefit.