Swollen or bleeding gums may indicate a person has gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease. While some individuals may have hereditary oral health problems that increase their risk for developing the condition, poor hygiene habits are too often the cause.

Stop Gingivitis in Its Tracks

Every time you eat or drink, thousands of microscopic bacteria come into contact with your mouth. Though not harmful initially, they can lead to the formation of plaque. This substance erodes tooth enamel and food-borne bacteria can also become lodged beneath the gum line into the underlying tissue.

When this occurs, the gums become swollen and inflamed as a result of the infection. The only way to prevent gum infection and to keep gingivitis from turning into something far worse (e.g. periodontal disease) is to floss and use mouthwash regularly. Toothbrushes cannot dislodge food that is stuck between teeth, which is why many patients who have perfectly healthy teeth can also have gingivitis.

How Do You Know if You Have Gingivitis?

  • Swollen or discolored gums – Red and/or puffy looking gums are a sure sign that gingivitis is at work. More serious forms can also lead to increased tissue sensitivity and even pain in some instances.
  • Bad breath – Halitosis is the direct result of bacteria that have been allowed to sit idle in the mouth for too long. Remember to rinse thoroughly with antiseptic mouthwash morning and night (or after every meal) and contact your dentist if the problem is recurring.
  • Bloody gums – Keep in mind that this is not always caused by gingivitis. Brushing too rough can cause the gums to bleed; however, if you notice excessive amounts or if the bleeding takes a while to cease, you should visit your dentist in Atlanta.

Gingivitis can be effectively controlled and stopped with proper oral hygiene habits. Your Atlanta dentist may recommend a particular toothpaste or mouthwash to aid in the removal of built-up plaque, but it is up to you to follow through with regular cleanings and to attend your semi-annual check-ups.