Important Notice

Tetrick Family Dentistry is temporarily closed following guidelines from the ADA and Health Department regarding the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Tetrick is available to existing patients for emergencies. If you are an existing patient and experiencing a dental emergency, our outgoing office voicemail has the on-call doctor’s information.

There will be very limited response or access to emails by administrative staff at this time. Thank you for your patience in this time of uncertainty.

Can You Really Prevent Gingivitis?

Knowing the Key to Prevention

If proper plaque control is practiced, gingivitis can be reversed in nearly all cases. Where proper plaque control is concerned, it means daily brushing and flossing and at least twice a year professional cleanings Yes, proper oral hygiene is essential, however, there are other risk factors that can influence whether or not you get gingivitis. Some of them are beyond our control, like advancing age. Others can be managed with good commitment to oral hygiene including diabetes, tobacco use, viral and fungal infections, decreased immunity, substance abuse and poor nutrition.

Did you know that plaque forms on your teeth every single day?

The food we eat and left over in our mouths attract bacteria. They especially prefer sugar. Plaque typically forms within 24 hours, so it is extremely important to brush every day. If the plaque is left to harden, it becomes tartar, a layer of protection for bacteria. This buildup can lead to gingivitis.

The following are steps you can take to prevent gingivitis and also at the same time, treat it. Brush twice a day to remove bacterial plaque. Regular toothbrushes are good options, though studies show that in general, electric toothbrushes decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. After three months of use, plaque was reduced by 21% and gingivitis by 11%.
Use an anti-gingivitis or anti-plaque toothpaste containing fluoride to strengthen teeth and prevent bacterial damage in plaque that builds up on teeth throughout the day.

Antibacterial mouthwash after brushing helps fight plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath. A good mouthwash covers those hard-to-reach areas where bacteria can hide.

At least floss once a day to remove food particles and plaque between teeth. Do not ignore those back teeth either. Your gums may bleed for time. However, it is important to keep brushing and flossing.

Improve your diet by adding more calcium. It’s good for your bones and beneficial to gums, too. Increase your intake of essential vitamins, particularly B12.

Go to your dental appointments for professional cleaning regularly; at least once every 6 months or more frequently if you have related risk factors. It’s not just for cleanings but for checkups if there are issues you may have or are not aware about.

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Preventing Gingivitis in Bellingham

For your other concerns regarding gum health, please come by Dr. Tetrick’s clinic in Bellingham. We look after gum health all the time with our expertise and tips-to-go.

Knowing the Dangers of Gingivitis

Causes, Risk Factors and Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. It’s mild and very common with a tendency to increase in severity as people age. However, gingivitis is most commonly seen in late adolescence. It is most often unaddressed and without disturbing symptoms, like pain. However, gums with gingivitis are red, irritated and swollen. Under the umbrella of gum diseases, gingivitis is an early stage. If it goes on untreated, it can lead to the more destructive and severe form – periodontitis – which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

What causes gingivitis?

It is commonly caused by plaque buildup. Plaque is an extremely sticky, colorless to pale yellow deposit of bacteria that regularly builds up on teeth if not brushed regularly. The bacteria produce acids that attack tooth enamel and can damage the gums.

Risk Factors for Gingivitis

The most common is poor oral hygiene. Habits of irregular and improper tooth brushing and flossing definitely are poor oral hygiene practices. Apart from this are certain disease conditions notably diabetes and HIV/AIDS which impede the immune system in battling inflammation and infection. Pregnancy can alter hormone levels and leave gums defenseless in fighting infections. Certain medicines can trigger gingivitis, also like oral contraceptives, steroids, anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers, and chemotherapy. Smoking or chewing on tobacco is another risk factor. Situations like crooked teeth, broken fillings and poorly fitting dental appliances are still others. Some people are genetically prone to gum disease.

How do you know you may have gingivitis?

As mentioned, redness, swelling and irritation may be present. Bleeding and bad breath might be noted. You can easily ignore these symptoms, but remember the risk factors. You might not recognize the signs or you are worried about seeking care from a dental professional, your condition will probably get worse. Untreated gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small pockets where bacteria can get trapped. Bacteria in these pockets destroy the bone supporting the teeth. That’s how you can lose your teeth.

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Seeking Professional Dental Care in Bellingham

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms see your Bellingham dentist right away and get a proper assessment. If these symptoms persist, talk to us to determine the best treatment.