Gingivitis Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
Did you know that having a healthy mouth is also an important part of a healthy body? It’s because oral health problems can reduce a person’s quality of life by affecting their well-being. And like any other ailment, an oral disease, like any other disease, needs to be treated. However, how do you know if you have an oral disease? Chronic infections deserve a proper diagnosis and treatment and should not be ignored but often is because bleeding or tender gums are often overlooked.
If you think you’re suffering from gingivitis, we’ve compiled a list of things you need to look out for.
What is Gingivitis:
According to Oral B, gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease caused by the buildup of plaque. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease.
Gingivitis Symptoms and Signs:
Because gingivitis doesn’t often cause pain, many people don’t know they have it. In fact, as many as 70 per cent of Canadians will experience some degree of gingivitis during their lifetime. Some symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, and bleeding gums, bad breath, tooth pain or sensitivity, and loose teeth. However, since it doesn’t always cause pain, it’s important not only to know what to look for, but also to see your dentist and hygienist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
There are two main categories of gingivitis:
- Plaque-induced gingival disease: Excess plaque buildup (caused by poor diet, medications, etc.) can increase your chances of getting gingivitis.
- Non-plaque induced gingival lesions: Gingivitis can also be caused by specific bacterium, viruses, or fungi, genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or negative reactions.
Causes of Gingivitis:
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. When you suffer from poor oral hygiene, this creates a breeding ground for plaque; causing inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. The plaque triggers an immune response, which, in turn, can eventually lead to the destruction of gingival, or gum, tissue. It may also, eventually, lead to further complications, including the loss of teeth.
Other factors include:
- Changes in hormones: During certain stages in a female’s life (i.e. puberty, menopause, during the menstrual cycle) the gingiva may become more sensitive, raising the risk of inflammation.
- Some illnesses: Cancer, diabetes and HIV are linked to a higher risk of gingivitis as these illnesses all interfere with the immune system and affects the body’s ability in one way or another to use blood sugar.
- Drugs: Since your saliva acts as a protective coat for your teeth and gums, oral health may be affected by some medications (i.e. Dilantin®, Procardia® or Adalat®) because they drastically reduce the saliva flow.
- Smoking: Regular smokers more commonly develop gingivitis compared with non-smokers, because smoking makes it harder for gum tissue to repair itself by upsetting the balance of repair and breakdown of oral tissues.
- Poor diet: Vitamin-C deficiencies and high consumption of sugars are linked to gum disease.
- Family history: Those whose parent or parents have had gingivitis have a higher risk of developing it too as you may have acquired a bacteria in your early stages of life.
- Over consumption of alcohol
Fortunately, if you do have gingivitis, it can usually be reversed with the help of your dental team. Gingivitis is 100 per cent treatable and preventable. The best way to treat it is to catch it early and this can be done by sticking to a regular dental regime of brushing and flossing and regular dental checkups.If you do notice the signs, make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Your hygienist will remove plaque and can help diagnose and control the disease before it advances. If you have any questions, call us to speak to one of our dental specialists.