Healthy Mouth Healthy Body?
Inflammation and Gum Disease
Did you know that over 75 percent of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease? It's more common than you think!
Gum Disease and Gingivitis — What are They?
Gum disease is a form of inflammation and infection that occurs in the mouth. Gingivitis — an early phase of gum disease and the easiest to treat — is an inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque, a soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria above the gumline.
Plaque provides a shelter for over 400 species of bacteria and other microorganisms to grow and proliferate. If not routinely removed by proper brushing and flossing, plaque can build up on teeth and gums and lead to gingivitis. Fortunately, gingivitis can be treated.
How Do I Know if I Have Gingivitis?
Classic signs of gingivitis include red, swollen and tender gums that may bleed when you brush. It is important to remember that only a dental professional can thoroughly assess your dental health and determine whether you have gum disease, including gingivitis. Since some symptoms of gingivitis are not painful, the disease may remain untreated for many years unless diagnosed by a dental professional.
Signs of periodontitis†, a more advanced stage of chronic gum disease, include the presence of gum ulceration, gums that have receded or pulled away from your teeth, permanent teeth that are loose or separating, any change in the fit of your teeth when biting, any change in the fit of partial dentures, and recurring bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Regular visits to your dental professional can help to prevent periodontitis† from developing.
How Can I Help Prevent Gingivitis?
The key to preventing gingivitis is to remove the plaque and bacteria that accumulate on your teeth. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are extremely important. Good at-home oral hygiene is also crucial.
You can help stop gingivitis before it develops by:
- Brushing with an anti-bacterial toothpaste and flossing to remove plaque and debris - learn more with our interactive brushing guide
- Eating right to ensure proper nutrition for your jawbone and teeth
- Avoiding cigarettes and other forms of tobacco
- Scheduling regular checkups with your dentist
You can help protect yourself against gingivitis by brushing with Colgate Total*. It has a unique formula that attaches to teeth for 12-hour protection against bacteria which cause gingivitis. Studies show that Colgate Total* reduces gingivitis more effectively than regular fluoride toothpaste. For more information on gum disease and your oral health, click on the link below.