Gingivitis – symptoms, causes, and treatment
Gingivitis is a very common gum disease affecting many people. What is gingivitis? What causes this disease? How can we treat gingivitis? With this article, we will answer all these questions.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease. It causes irritation, redness, and swelling (in other words inflammation) of your gingiva – that is the part of your gum around the base of your teeth.
Although this is a mild form of gum disease, it must be taken very seriously and it has to be treated right away. If it’s left untreated, it can lead to more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
What is the most common cause of gingivitis?
Gingivitis can have a number of causes. Its most common cause is poor oral hygiene that allows plaque to form on teeth. If plaque stays on your teeth, it can harden and collect bacteria irritating your gumline. As a result, the surrounding gum tissues get inflamed.
Gingivitis can also occur if you brush your teeth regularly but your oral hygiene may be inadequate.
Inadequate oral hygiene can mean that you did not use the necessary tools, such as floss, or that you did not clean your teeth thoroughly enough, not brushing all tooth surfaces with the brush.
Of course, gingivitis can develop for a number of other reasons: there may be genetics behind it all, without any other explanation. Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy, menstrual cycle, use of birth control pills or menopause may also increase the risk of gingivitis.
Apart from that, vitamin deficiencies and smoking can also cause serious problems and can be a cause of gingivitis.
Symptoms of gingivitis: how to recognize it?
Gingivitis can be seen by looking in the mirror, as it typically develops red, swollen gums. If your gums are also sensitive to pressure, there is still a strong suspicion of gingivitis. It is typically associated with bleeding gums during brushing, but spontaneous bleeding is not uncommon or can cause unpleasant mouth odor.
All in all, anyone can develop gingivitis, but the following factors can increase the risk:
- Poor oral care
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Poor nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
- Older age
- Dry mouth
- Dental restorations that don’t fit properly
- Crooked teeth that are difficult to clean
- Conditions that decrease immunity such as leukemia, HIV/AIDS or cancer treatment
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions such as certain viral and fungal infections
Common symptoms of gingivitis
Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. If you have gingivitis, you will experience the following:
- dark red, swollen gums,
- sensitivity during brushing,
- spontaneous bleeding
- bad breath
- receding gums
Possible consequences of untreated gingivitis
Gingivitis is a gum disease that needs to be treated professionally, otherwise it can lead to serious problems.
Gingivitis, if it persists for a long time and is not handled properly, can lead to damage to the bone tissue, which can result in bone loss. Your teeth can loosen, and untreated gingivitis can lead to the loss of teeth.
If you notice any signs of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist.
How to Prevent Gingivitis?
Now that we know the consequences of this gum disease, it’s important to know how to prevent gingivitis.