Gingivitis is a very common gum infection that affects nearly half of adults over the age of 30. Unfortunately, these cases can go unnoticed or untreated, allowing them to become more severe over time. To help you avoid this from happening, we’ve compiled these five facts about gingivitis that everyone should know.
- What gingivitis is
- Signs and symptoms of gingivitis
- Causes of gingivitis
- Other health problems related to gingivitis
- How to prevent gingivitis
1. What Gingivitis Is
Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease (periodontal disease). It’s a type of bacterial infection that affects the gum tissue and bone responsible for holding your teeth in place. This form of gum disease can be reversed in its early stages so it’s essential that you seek treatment immediately. This will help prevent complications further on down the line.
2. Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
It helps to know the signs and symptoms of gingivitis so you can seek treatment if you notice any of them. This is especially important if you run a higher risk for the infection, such as those who use tobacco.
Common signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Gums that appear swollen or red
- Constant bad breath
- Pain when chewing food
- Gums that bleed easily or feel tender
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Receding gums
It’s important that you contact our office immediately if you notice any signs of gingivitis in your mouth. Coming in for an appointment gives Dr. Mullins and Dr. Owen the opportunity to diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan to get it under control. This will ensure that it doesn’t spread and lead to other complications that may be more severe.
Click here to learn more about what gingivitis is as well as its signs and symptoms!
3. Causes of Gingivitis
The majority of gingivitis cases are the result of poor oral hygiene and a lack of professional dental cleanings. This allows plaque and calculus (or tartar) to build up on your teeth, which is the primary cause of gingivitis.
Plaque is caused by starches and sugars combining with the bacteria in your mouth. It’s a clear, sticky substance that reforms quickly after brushing, which is why regular cleaning is so important. Unfortunately, poor dental care allows plaque to build up and eventually turn into gingivitis if not treated correctly.
However, there are other possible causes at the root of gingivitis. In fact, most cases of the infection have a combination of causes. Other common reasons for gingivitis developing include:
- Tobacco usage
- Poor nutrition
- Certain chronic diseases
- Hormonal changes
- Certain medications
Be sure to talk to our team about your risk factors for gingivitis. Our dental staff can help determine your risk and provide clear and practical advice to avoid developing gingivitis.
To learn more about the causes of gingivitis, click here!
4. Other Health Problems Related to Gingivitis
According to a 2019 study, your oral health and risk of Alzheimer’s disease are more closely related than originally thought. As Dr. Richard Kao, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, explains:
Periodontists have long known that a healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body, and research has suggested an association between periodontal disease and dementia conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. These recent findings present strong evidence on how periodontal disease can impact the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and should highlight how crucial it is to manage periodontal disease, especially in older adults or individuals who have increased risk for dementia.
High Blood Pressure
Those with gum disease and poor oral health tend to have higher blood pressure than those with good oral health. Not only that, but those with good oral health also had better responses to blood pressure medication than those with poor oral health. This gap was only widened by the presence of gum disease, leading researchers to believe the infection interferes with the effectiveness of medication.
Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, and infections in general, due to the body’s inability to process sugar. This can put you at an increased risk of developing gingivitis as well as other infections. Gum disease can also cause your blood sugar to rise, creating a double-edged sword for those with gum disease and diabetes.
Click here to learn more about the many ways gingivitis affects your overall health!
5. How to Prevent Gingivitis
There are plenty of steps you can take to help keep from developing gingivitis. To protect yourself from this dental infection, make sure that you:
- Know the signs
- Pay attention early
- Practice good dental hygiene
- Focus on nutrition
- Get regular dental care
Knowing the signs of gingivitis will alert you that something is wrong with your oral health. Make sure to pay attention early so that you can receive treatment as soon as possible.
The keys to prevention are much the same when it comes to protecting your teeth after gingivitis treatment. As Taylor, one of our dental hygienists explains, this includes brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day.
She also adds:
I really love electric toothbrushes for any age, any person. I really like string floss versus the Floss Plaquers but I’m willing to bend for those that are willing to floss but need a few extra tools. I love Waterpiks for most people, as well. It’s really about making sure they have the right tools for their specific needs.
For more tips on preventing gingivitis, click here!
Make sure to practice good dental hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day. You can support your gum health by focusing on nutrition with a healthy and balanced diet. With regular dental care, your dentist can remove plaque you may have missed when cleaning at home as well as spot the early signs of gingivitis and provide treatment.
Are you concerned that you may be developing gingivitis? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
Gingivitis is a bacterial infection that develops in the early stages of gum disease. Common symptoms include bleeding and receding gums. Gingivitis is often the result of poor dental hygiene, though there can be other combined causes. Gum disease can also affect your overall health. To prevent gingivitis, practice good oral health and get regular dental cleanings.
My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.