Gingivitis: Test Your Smarts

School’s out for summer, but it’s never a bad time to test your dental knowledge. Gingivitis is the professional term for the early stage of gum disease. Most of us know we should brush and floss to prevent tooth decay, but did you know these same habits help prevent gingivitis? Unhealthy gums are not only unsightly. If left untreated, gingivitis lead to periodontal disease, and the need for dental implants or other restorative procedures. Knowing what healthy gums look like, and how to keep them that way is a smart step for oral health.

T or F: Healthy Gums are Pinkish and Firm

TRUE. While we all have individual gum colors, healthy gums have a pinkish hue. Gums that are bright red, very pale or have had a change in color all signal the need for a visit to your dentist. When gingivitis is caught early, you can make changes in brushing and flossing habits which may restore gums to health.

T or F: It’s Best to Scrub Gums Vigorously

FALSE: Use a gentle touch when brushing and flossing where the gum meets the tooth root. While you want to clean gently under the edge of the gum, you don’t want to scrub vigorously, or force the gum away from the tooth surface.

T or F: Bleeding When Flossing is Normal

FALSE: While you may occasionally see a little blood when you floss, it should be rarely and only a bit. Significant bleeding is an early sign of gingivitis. Be sure you are using a gentle touch at the gumline, but cleaning thoroughly, and brushing for about 2 minutes, both morning and night. Correct and thorough flossing techniques mean gently sliding the floss just under the gum, at the top and between each tooth, This will help dislodge bacteria and food particles.


Combining experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery with a genuine care for their patients’ health and comfort, the team at Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery is ready to improve the health and beauty of smiles in the Sonoma County and North Bay area. To schedule a consultation, contact our office by calling 707-545-4625 (Santa Rosa) or 707-584-1630 (Rohnert Park).