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Gingivitis: Signs, Causes and Risk Factors

Understanding Gingivitis

You could regard gingivitis as a non-destructive form of gum disease, but if it doesn’t get treated, it can turn into to its destructive type – periodontitis. If you’re noticing red and puffy gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth or are painful to touch, you may have gingivitis. Many people may not know if they have gingivitis as most times the condition does not have severe symptoms. More advanced signs are halitosis or bad breath, inflammation, or swollen gums, and receding gums.

There are two main categories of gingival diseases.

One is dental plaque-induced gingival disease, which can be caused by plaque, systemic factors, medications, or malnutrition. The other is non-plaque induced gingival lesions. This can be caused by a specific bacteria, virus, or fungus. Other causes are genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or reactions to foreign bodies, such as dentures. Sometimes, there is no specific cause.

What exactly causes gingivitis?

The most common cause of gingivitis is the accumulation of bacterial plaque between and around the teeth. Plaque is a biofilm that accumulates naturally on the teeth, formed by colonizing bacteria sticking to the tooth. When plaque is not removed adequately it can harden into calculus usually at the gumline. The presence of plaque and calculus can irritate the gums, inflaming them.

Want to know the risk factors for gingivitis?

These are the conditions that make you prone to develop the inflammation. Apart from advancing age and strong family history, which enables one to develop it early in life, other risk factors are: smoking, poor diet (especially lack of vitamin C), and certain medications like anticonvulsants and anti-angina drugs. Changes in hormones occurring during puberty, menopause, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy can make the gums more sensitive, raising the risk of inflammation. Also some diseases like cancer, diabetes, and HIV which are linked to a higher risk of gingivitis.

If caught early enough, gingivitis is treatable and reversible. Treatment involves cleaning by a professional, called scaling. It can be uncomfortable and the procedure’s duration can be as short or as long depending on the extent of plaque and calculus present on teeth. Home care tips will be given involving proper oral hygiene, follow-up appointments may be required, or corrective procedures may be suggested by your dentist, like fixing a cracked tooth or a bad overbite.

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Fighting Gingivitis in Lynnwood

The final results of a thorough cleaning by a professional is a satisfactory feeling of cleanliness, freshness of breath and brightness of the smile. Experience this and more at Lynnwood Song Dental Center.