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Posted on: July 15, 2020
Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Bradenton, FL
What Causes Gingivitis and What Are Its Symptoms?
Although there are other factors that may exacerbate its development, the primary cause of gingivitis is inadequate oral hygiene. Unfortunately, it is often asymptomatic, so you may have it for a while before you’re aware of it. However, if you notice minor bleeding when you brush or floss or if you have suddenly developed bad breath, then you might have gingivitis, so be sure to consult your dentist without delay.
Can Gingivitis Be Prevented?
Periodontal disease is preventable when you brush daily, twice at a minimum, but preferably after each meal or snack, and floss at least once a day. This inhibits the formation of plaque-laden bacteria in your mouth and can prevent the formation of both decay and tartar. The CDC states that almost half of adults over 30 have periodontal disease, and the incidence is higher in men than women. Left untreated, gingivitis can turn into tartar, which is a hard substance that can only be removed during a professional teeth cleaning. If you’re alert to the early warning signs, you can seek professional help and stop gingivitis before it becomes serious.
Are There Common Indicators of Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is usually asymptomatic, meaning that it can be present without any symptoms, so you may be unaware that you have the disease. That’s one of the reasons that dentists recommend semi-annual checkups, which enable gum disease to be caught before you notice the symptoms. Your gums should be pale pink and firm and they should be firmly attached to your teeth. If you notice any of the following, then make a dental appointment right away:
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Receding gums
- Swollen or inflamed gums
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitive or tender gums
- Deep red or purple color
- Loosened teeth
- Increased spacing between your teeth
Any of these indicators may signal the presence of gingivitis, so they shouldn’t be ignored.
Are There Common Causes of Gingivitis?
Although there are other causative factors, the most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, then food can accumulate in the crevices between the teeth and encourage the formation of plaque. If plaque isn’t removed, it becomes a substance called tartar, which seals the bacteria and encourages more growth, causing more plaque and tartar to form. Tartar is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist, so be sure to establish a program of good oral hygiene and maintain it.
When plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, they increase your level of inflammation, which can cause bleeding, swelling, and tooth decay, according to the Mayo Clinic. If they’re not removed, the gingivitis can become chronic periodontal disease, which can eventually cause you to lose your teeth, as well as destroy your gum tissue and jawbone.
Are There Common Risk Factors for Gingivitis?
Although good oral hygiene can keep gingivitis from developing, there are certain factors that can increase your risk of having it, including:
- Genetic predisposition in your family
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Nutritional deficits, particularly a lack of vitamin C
- Prescription medications, especially those that cause you to have dry mouth
- Dentures, bridges, and other types of restorative dental appliances that are defective or fit poorly
- Tobacco use—and it doesn’t matter whether you smoke it or chew it
If you have any of these risk factors, you should pay particular attention to your dental health so you won’t lose your teeth.
Does Gingivitis Adversely Affect Your Overall Health?
In addition to losing your teeth, gingival disease can adversely affect your major organs and all the systems in your body. The membranes and tissues in your mouth are very sensitive and contain a high number of blood vessels that readily absorb any substance that’s in your mouth, which is one of the advantages of sublingual medications.
According to the AAP, the inflammation present in advanced gum disease can be responsible for a number of major diseases, including:
- Cancer: The AAP reports that men who have gingival disease are more likely to develop blood cancer, kidney cancer, and pancreatic cancer than those who have good oral health.
- Diabetes: Diabetics who don’t maintain healthy blood sugar levels are more likely to develop gingival disease in addition to the vision loss, neural damage, and renal disease that often accompany diabetes.
- Heart disease: A higher incidence of periodontal disease is associated with those who have heart disease.
- Respiratory disease: The bacteria in the mouth can be transmitted to the lungs through the normal process of breathing, and can cause respiratory diseases, according to the AAP.
- Stroke: The incidence of stroke due to arterial blockage to the brain was higher in those with gingival disease than it was in other types of stroke victims.
Gingivitis is a serious disease and its effect on the body can be deadly when left untreated. Be sure to maintain a regimen of good oral hygiene so you can protect your body and your overall health.
What Are the Best Ways to Treat and Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Good oral hygiene is the best method for preventing periodontal disease and for treating it at any stage. Since it often presents without symptoms, good oral hygiene that includes regular dental checkups can keep your mouth at its healthiest. Your dentist can advise you about the number of times you need to brush and floss each day, since that often varies according to the individual. If you smoke or have dry mouth or deep pockets in your gums, you may need to visit your dentist more frequently.
If you’re in the early stage of gingival disease, it can be reversed if it’s caught early and treated before it progresses. Otherwise, you may need a deep cleaning, which involves root planing and scaling that’s done below the gumline and is usually performed on those with chronic periodontal disease.
Please remember that you may have gum disease and be unaware of it. Call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our compassionate dentists and let’s start restoring your good oral health. We look forward to working with you, so call us today.