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Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Connecticut

What Causes Gingivitis to Develop and What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Primarily, gingivitis develops due to a lack of good oral hygiene. If your gums bleed when you’re brushing and flossing or if you often have bad breath, those may be the first signs of gum disease. Read further to learn how to prevent, treat, and recognize gingivitis.

How Can Periodontal Disease Be Prevented?

Even though periodontal disease is common and easy to prevent, it’s very prevalent. The CDC reports that almost half of adults 30 and older have gum disease. By the time they’re over 65, more than 70 percent of adults will have gum disease and many of them will have lost all of their teeth to this completely preventable disease, which is more prevalent in men than women. In the more advanced stages of gingival disease, there’s the loss of bone and tissue, as well as teeth, and there also can be problems with facial structure. Since gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, it’s important to be able to recognize its symptoms before it advances so you can eliminate it and retain your teeth and maintain good oral health.

The best method for preventing periodontal disease is to practice good oral hygiene. After you eat, the bacteria in your mouth combine with food particles to form plaque, which is a sticky substance that encourages the growth of more bacteria. When it’s not removed daily through brushing and flossing, the plaque turns into tartar, which is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a dental professional. When left on your teeth, the tartar becomes a shield for the plaque, allowing even more bacteria to develop. According to the Mayo Clinic, untreated gingivitis can lead to chronic periodontitis, which is an inflammation and infection of the tissue and bone that secure your teeth in place, and it could ultimately cost you all of your teeth and damage your facial structure.

What Symptoms of Gingivitis Should I Be Aware Of?

Healthy gums should be light pink and firm, and hug the teeth. If your gums are inflamed or irritated, you might be in the early stages of gingivitis. The following are also common symptoms of gingivitis:

  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Changed or larger gaps between your teeth
  • Gums that bleed during flossing or brushing
  • Gums that are swollen and sensitive
  • Loosening teeth
  • Pain when you chew
  • Receding gums
  • Red, purple or otherwise discolored gums
  • Recurrent bad breath

What Will Cause Gingivitis to Develop?

Primarily, gingivitis will develop if your oral hygiene practices are inadequate. Even if you think you have good oral hygiene, if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned, you need additional care. Your dentist can recommend the optimal number of times that you need to brush and floss for your specific circumstances, so make an appointment to speak with your dentist if you have questions about your oral hygiene regimen. The longer that plaque remains on your teeth, the more bacteria will develop and contribute to the onset of periodontal disease, so it’s important to remove it every day.

Are There Additional Risk Factors for Developing Gum Disease?

No matter how thorough your oral hygiene habits are, there are other risk factors that can encourage the formation of gingivitis:

  • AIDS/HIV, cancer treatments, diabetes and other health conditions can lower your immunity and make you more susceptible to developing gingivitis
  • Any type of restorative dentistry such as bridges, fillings or dental appliances that seat poorly or are defective
  • Any type of medication that has dry mouth as a side effect
  • Fluctuations in your hormones
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Inadequate nutrition, especially if you lack or are low in vitamin C
  • Tobacco use, whether you smoke it or chew it

Be sure to notify your dentist if you have any of these risk factors.

Can Gum Disease Cause Poor Overall Health?

In addition to the serious issue of losing your teeth, periodontal disease can trigger severe side effects, such as:

  • Cancer: The American Academy of Periodontology reports that men with periodontal disease were nearly 50 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer than those who had good oral health, 30 percent likelier to get blood cancers, and 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
  • Cardiac disease: Those with gingival disease have been associated with a higher incidence of heart disease.
  • Diabetes: Poorly controlled or uncontrolled blood glucose levels in diabetics encourage the onset of gingivitis in addition to the common issues of renal failure, neural damage, and loss of vision that often occur as the result of diabetes.
  • Pulmonary diseases: The bacteria in the mouth can be transmitted directly to the lungs via the normal breathing process and can cause lung diseases, according to the AAP.
  • Arterial stroke: The incidence of arterial stroke was higher with those who had gingival disease than with those who suffered other types of strokes.

Which Methods Work Best for Treating Gum Disease?

The best treatment for periodontal gum disease is prevention. Strict adherence to a program of good oral hygiene that includes regular dental checkups will yield the best prognosis whether you have additional risk factors or other health issues. If it’s been a while since your last dental checkup, then call our office today to schedule one. You also can use our convenient online booking tool to book your appointment. Contact us and let us help you maintain good oral health.

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