Swollen, Bleeding Gums Could Mean Gingivitis - Here's What a Dentist Recommends

Lauren Pardee
·2-min read

I'm always concerned with how my teeth look when I should be paying more attention to my gums for insight into my general dental health.

If your gums are swelling, bleeding, discolored (think: red, blue, or dark red instead of pink), receding, or have changed from a firm to spongy texture - these are all signs (along with bad breath!) that you could be experiencing gingivitis, Dr. Ishwarpreet Singh, DDS, a general dentist with ProHealth Dental, said.

According to ProHealth Dental, gingivitis - a gum disease caused by inflammation and bacteria - can slowly destroy the gums and surrounding tissue supporting the teeth, which can impact your oral and overall health.

Causes of gingivitis include plaque or tartar build-up often due to poor oral hygiene, some medications, hormonal changes, diabetes, smoking, bleeding disorders, cancers, malnutrition, viral or fungal infections, and genetics, Dr. Singh said.

Related: Ignoring Your Toothbrush and Floss Can Lead to Gingivitis and Even Worse Gum Issues

To prevent gingivitis altogether, she explained that maintaining proper at-home oral care recommended by your dentist is key, along with attending professional teeth cleanings every six months and avoiding risk factors like smoking or eating lots of sugar.

"At-home control or prevention of gingivitis begins with brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using mouth rinses to wash out plaque between teeth in addition to flossing. Soft toothbrushes should be used and replaced every 3-4 months."

Based on your condition's severity, your dentist could recommend more frequent deep cleanings or a consultation with a gum specialist, Dr. Singh said.

And if left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe disease that can eventually lead to tooth movement, tooth loss, or more general health issues, she added.

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