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What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Gingivitis?

If you’ve noticed that you have bad breath more frequently or your gums bleed when you brush or floss, then you may have gingivitis. Continue reading to learn more about this serious disease, how to treat it, and how to avoid it.

Can Gingival Disease Be Prevented?

Gingivitis is a very common disease that’s more responsible for tooth loss in adults than any other disease. It often occurs without any symptoms, so you could be unaware that you have it unless your dentist diagnoses it or you develop symptoms such as pain or more intense bleeding. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, the AAP, almost half of adults who are at least 30 years old have gum disease and more than 70 percent of those over 65 have gingival disease. It affects men more than women and the incidence increases with age.

Fortunately, this disease is easily prevented with a program of good oral hygiene that includes frequent brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental checkups.

What Symptoms Indicate That I Have Gingivitis?

There are frequently no indicators that you have gingivitis, not even pain, but if you have any of the following, then you may have developed gum disease:

  • A persistent bad taste in your mouth
  • Bleeding when you floss or brush
  • Red or purple gums
  • Growing gaps between your teeth
  • Loosened teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Recurring bad breath
  • Swollen and sensitive gums

What Will Cause Gingivitis to Form?

The formation of gingivitis happens when you become lax about your oral hygiene. Lack of brushing and flossing can enable the plaque and bacteria to remain on your teeth and gingivitis will form. When you eat foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars, the bacteria in your mouth latch onto the food particles and begin to form plaque, which is the sticky substance that makes your teeth feel fuzzy. When not removed through your daily routine of brushing and flossing, the plaque remains on your teeth and settles into the crevices and becomes tartar, which is a very hard substance that can only be removed with a professional dental cleaning. Eventually, the tartar forms a protective barrier over the plaque, so the bacteria can proliferate and begin to damage your teeth and gums. Over time, it can destroy your teeth and gums and lead to the serious stage of chronic periodontitis, which is inflammation and infection of the bone and tissue that support your teeth. At that stage, you could lose your teeth.

What Risk Factors Will Enable Gingivitis to Develop?

Even if you have an excellent oral hygiene routine, there are risk factors that can cause gingivitis to develop, so you need to include regular dental visits in your regimen. If you have any of the following risk factors, you might want to visit your dentist more frequently:

  • An ongoing bad taste in your mouth
  • Any bridges, fillings, dental appliances or reconstructive dentistry that fit poorly or are damaged
  • HIV/AIDS, diabetes or other health conditions that affect your immune system
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Lack of good nutrition, especially if your diet is low in vitamin C
  • Prescription or over-the-counter medications that cause dry mouth as a side effect
  • Tobacco use, whether you smoke it or chew it

Can Gingival Disease Adversely Affect Your Physical Health?

We normally associate gingivitis with oral health, but it can also have a negative impact on your overall physical health. Previously, researchers thought that the bacteria in gingivitis was responsible for the following associated health risks, but new research has linked them to the inflammation markers carried by gingivitis. The AAP (American Academy of Periodontology) has linked gingivitis to:

  • Arterial stroke: Those with gingival disease were found to have a higher incidence of stroke due to arterial blockage to the brain than those who had other types of strokes.
  • Heart disease: Those who have a history of gingival disease have been linked to a higher incidence of cardiac disease.
  • Diabetes: Poorly controlled or uncontrolled blood glucose levels in diabetics encourage the onset of gingivitis, in addition to the typical neural damage, renal disease, and loss of vision that often occur as the result of diabetes.
  • Pulmonary disease: Bacteria in the mouth can be transmitted to the lungs through normal breathing and cause various lung diseases, according to the AAP.
  • Various types of cancer: The AAP reports that men who had periodontal disease were 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers, and 49 percent more likely to develop renal cancer than those with good oral health.

What Methods Work Best for Treating Gum Disease?

The best method for treating and preventing gum disease is to have a regimen of good oral hygiene that includes regular dental checkups. Don’t procrastinate because you’re tired or need to get up early. Since this disease has no symptoms much of the time, it’s vital to include dental exams in your oral hygiene routine. Frequently, your dentist can catch the early signs of gingival disease and prevent the disease from progressing. When caught and treated early, gingivitis has an excellent prognosis. If left untreated, gingivitis can destroy your oral health as well as your physical health.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had a dental checkup, be sure to call our office and schedule an appointment. Alternatively, you can schedule one online using our convenient booking tool. Let’s get started on regaining your good oral health.

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