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Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Fairfax Corner, VA

What Are the Gingivitis Causes and Symptoms?

If you’ve had recurring bad breath lately or your gums bleed when you brush or floss, then you may have gingivitis, since these are two of the early warning signs. If you’d like to learn more, read on.

Is Periodontal Disease Common and How Can I Prevent It?

Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases among adults and is the leading cause of tooth loss. This is unfortunate because gum disease is one of the easiest diseases to prevent; it simply requires a daily regimen of good oral hygiene. This means brushing and flossing every day and getting regular dental checkups. Since you get only one set of natural, permanent teeth in your lifetime, it only makes sense to take care of the ones you have.

However, according to the CDC, almost half of adults over the age of 30 have gum disease and more than 70 percent of those in the 65-and-older age group have it. Without treatment, gingival disease becomes chronic periodontitis that will result in the loss of teeth and the bone and tissue that support them. The risk is higher in men, according to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), and the incidence increases with age. This disease is easily preventable and when caught in its early stage of gingivitis, it has an excellent prognosis.

What Symptoms Indicate the Presence of Gingivitis?

Gingivitis often presents asymptomatically, so you may have it and be completely unaware of it. For this reason alone, it’s important to have regular dental checkups. Your dentist can alert you to the presence of gingival disease and provide treatment so it won’t progress to a more serious stage. There’s frequently no pain associated with gingivitis, but if you notice any of the following, then make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible:

  • Swollen or sensitive gums
  • Dark red or purplish gums
  • Bleeding when you floss or brush
  • Loose teeth
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Pain when you chew
  • Receding gums
  • Wider or changed spaces between your teeth
  • Recurring bad breath

Are There Specific Causes of Gingivitis?

The main cause of gingivitis is a lack of good oral hygiene. Brushing or flossing alone won’t prevent it; you must brush and floss a minimum of twice each day. You also need to have regular dental checkups to ensure that you have good oral health and there are no hidden issues.

When you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth attach to food particles and begin to form plaque, which is a sticky substance that adheres to your teeth and makes them feel fuzzy. Left on your teeth for an extended period, the plaque will settle between your teeth and in the crevices of your gums and begin to cause decay and other issues. If not removed, the plaque turns into tartar, which is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a professional teeth cleaning. If it isn’t removed, it will create a protective barrier over the plaque and you’ll have even more bacteria growing, escalating into a more serious form of gingival disease. If plaque and tartar aren’t removed, they will destroy your gums and bone, causing you to lose your teeth. All of this can be prevented by following a regimen of good oral hygiene.

Do I Have Any Risk Factors for Developing Gingivitis?

No matter how excellent your oral hygiene, you could still develop gingivitis if you have any of these risk factors for the disease:

  • A bridge, filling or a dental appliance that fits poorly or is damaged
  • AIDS/HIV, diabetes or other health condition that compromises your immune system
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Inadequate nutrition, especially if your diet is low in vitamin C
  • Medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, that cause you to have a dry mouth as a side effect
  • Tobacco use, whether you smoke it or chew it

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s particularly important that you maintain an excellent regimen of oral hygiene that includes regular dental appointments.

Can Periodontal Disease Make You Unhealthy?

Although periodontal disease is usually associated with the teeth and gums, it can also cause problems with your physical health. It was once thought that the bacteria in gum disease caused these health problems. However, recent research has found that it’s the inflammation caused by gingivitis that is the source of the systemic problems, according to the American Association of Periodontology. Some of the physical issues that can be exacerbated by gum disease include:

  • Heart disease: Those who have heart disease also have a higher incidence of gingival disease.
  • Diabetes: Diabetics with uncontrolled or poorly controlled blood glucose levels have a higher incidence of gingivitis, in addition to the kidney disease, neural damage, and loss of vision that frequently affect diabetics.
  • Pulmonary disease: The normal breathing process can transmit the inflammatory bacteria in the mouth to the lungs and cause lung diseases, according to the AAP.
  • Stroke: The incidence of arterial stroke was higher among those who had gingival disease than those who suffered other types of strokes.
  • Certain cancers: The AAP reports that men who had periodontal disease were 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers, 49 percent more likely to get kidney cancer, and 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who had good oral health.

How Should I Treat Gum Disease?

If you have periodontal disease, then make an appointment with your dentist and discuss your best options for treatment and your daily oral hygiene routine. If you have progressed to a more serious stage of gingival disease, then you may need a deep cleaning that involves scaling and root planing. If it’s been a while since you have had a dental appointment, please call our office to make one or schedule with our online booking tool. Either way, don’t delay in making your appointment. It’s imperative that you maintain good oral health, so contact us today. We look forward to working with you.

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