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Posted on: July 15, 2020
Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Bradenton, FL
What Causes Gingivitis and What Are the Symptoms?
The primary cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. When you don’t floss at least daily and you don’t brush at least twice each day, preferably after each meal or snack, then a bacteria-laden substance called plaque forms in your mouth. Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar encourages the formation of plaque. If it’s not removed through brushing and flossing, then it turns into tartar, which can only be removed by a professional. If you notice that your breath is unpleasant or if you see blood after brushing or flossing, then you may be at the beginning of gingivitis. It’s a serious condition that shouldn’t be left untreated.
Can Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease Be Prevented?
According to the CDC, almost half of adults over 30 have gum disease even though it’s completely preventable. When it’s not treated, it can become chronic periodontal disease, which is the most advanced stage of the disease. At this point, you may lose your teeth, as well as the bone and gum tissue that secure them in your mouth. When periodontal disease reaches this stage, the only solutions are reconstructive dentistry and artificial teeth.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), reports that gingival disease is more common in men and the frequency increases with age; more than 70 percent of those who are 65 years and older have it. Since it’s completely preventable through practicing good oral hygiene, make sure to brush and floss daily, and have regular dental checkups.
What’s the Most Common Symptom of Gingivitis?
Since gum disease often presents asymptomatically, it’s vital that you know the signs and symptoms of the disease so you can get treatment if you’re in the early stage of it. Your gums should fit snugly around your teeth and be firm and pale pink. If you notice that they aren’t, or if you notice any of the following conditions, then schedule a checkup without delay:
- Bad breath or a persistent bad taste in your mouth
- Bleeding when you floss or brush
- Color changes in your gums, from pink to purple or dark red
- Loose teeth
- Inflamed or swollen gums
- Changes in your bite or tooth spacing
- Tender or sore gums
- Painful chewing
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
Any of these can indicate that you’re in one of the stages of gum disease, so make a dental appointment without delay.
What’s the Most Common Cause of Gingivitis?
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush or floss every day, particularly if you eat foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, then you’re more likely to develop gum disease. Since plaque is constantly present in our mouths, it can harden into tartar if it’s not removed daily. Tartar can only be removed by a professional and if it’s not, then it creates a protective barrier for the bacteria, which enables it to proliferate. According to the Mayo Clinic, leaving plaque and tartar on your teeth increases inflammation in your gums and can lead to tooth decay. It also can lead to substantial tooth loss.
Are There Risk Factors for Developing Periodontal Disease?
Although the primary factor for developing periodontal disease is a lack of proper oral hygiene, there are additional factors that can hasten its onset, such as:
- Genetic predisposition
- Hormonal changes in women
- Inadequate nutrition, particularly a lack of vitamin C
- Medications, especially those that have dry mouth as a side effect
- Dental appliances that fit poorly or are defective
- Tobacco use, whether you smoke it or chew it
Can Periodontal Disease Adversely Affect Your Overall Health?
Aside from possibly causing you to lose all of your teeth, periodontal disease can also have a negative effect on your major organs and the rest of your body. Although complete cause-and-effect details aren’t known on all of these, there’s substantial evidence to indicate causality in these conditions:
- Heart disease: Those who have heart disease seem to have a higher incidence of periodontal disease.
- Respiratory disease: The bacteria in the mouth can travel to the lungs and cause respiratory diseases, according to the AAP.
- Cancer: AAP reports that men who have gum disease are at a higher risk of developing blood cancer, kidney cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
- Stroke: Those who have experienced a stroke due to arterial blockage to the brain were more likely to have periodontal disease than other types of stroke victims.
- Diabetes: Those diabetics who don’t control their blood sugar are more likely to develop gum disease in addition to the traditional complications of diabetes, such as vision loss, neural damage, and renal disease.
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Gum Disease?
The best method for preventing gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. Flossing at least daily, preferably after each meal, and brushing at least twice daily, preferably after each meal, will provide the greatest prevention. Avoiding foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar can help prevent tartar from forming, and getting regular dental checkups can catch problems at their early stages.
If gingivitis is caught early, it has an excellent prognosis. However, if it’s left to turn into tartar, you’ll need a deep cleaning that includes scaling and root planing, and your gingivitis may develop into chronic periodontal disease. Ultimately, you can lose your teeth and the structural integrity of your jaw, requiring reconstructive dentistry.
If you’d like to schedule a checkup or if you need treatment for gingivitis, please call our office today. You can also schedule an appointment online. We look forward to working with you.