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Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Peoria

What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Gingivitis?

You may have experienced minor bleeding when you brush or floss, or perhaps you’ve recently noticed the unwelcome presence of halitosis. Both of these situations could indicate that you have early stage gingivitis, so you should make an appointment with a dentist. Read on to learn more about the habits that can trigger gingivitis and the consequences if you don’t seek treatment.

Is Periodontal Disease Preventable?

According to the CDC, almost half of adults who are 30 years or older have gum disease and it’s more common in men. In its early stage, it’s called gingivitis. The more advanced stage is called periodontal disease and it can cause the loss of your teeth and more, so don’t delay seeking treatment. Gum disease is preventable through good oral hygiene habits, so it’s vital to recognize the early signs of the disease so you can prevent its progression.

Are There Symptoms of Gingivitis?

Since gum disease often presents asymptomatically, it’s important to know its early symptoms, which include:

  • Changed or increased gaps between your teeth
  • Red or purple gums
  • Frequent bad breath
  • Gums that bleed when you floss or brush
  • Loosened teeth
  • Pain when you chew
  • Receding gums
  • Sensitive, swollen gums

What Are the Causes of Gingivitis?

The primary cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Teeth should be flossed at least daily and brushed more often than that. When you eat, especially foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, a sticky substance called plaque forms on your teeth. Plaque is filled with bacteria and it will lodge between your teeth and in the crevices in your gums and multiply. When not removed, plaque becomes tartar, which is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a professional. When plaque and tartar remain for an extended time, then periodontal disease and decay begin to form.

If not caught at the early stage of gingivitis, plaque and tartar continue to proliferate and will cause gingivitis to become periodontal disease. Tartar will eventually form a shield over the bacteria, allowing it to continue to spread and at this point, simply brushing and flossing won’t remove it. When not treated at this stage, then your periodontal disease can progress to chronic periodontitis, which adversely affects the gum tissue and bone that secure your teeth. You’ll eventually lose your teeth and may experience changes in your facial structure. You may also have irreparably damaged your teeth and gums and will need reconstructive surgery to restore functionality. It’s unfortunate that so many people lose their teeth to a disease that is so easily preventable.

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Gingivitis?

Although poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of gingival disease, there are risk factors that can increase the likelihood that you’ll get the disease, such as:

  • Any type of bridge, filling or dental appliance that doesn’t fit well or is defective
  • Diabetes and other health issues that compromise your immunity
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Inadequate nutrition, especially if your diet is low in vitamin C
  • Medications that have dry mouth as a side effect, whether prescription or over-the-counter
  • Tobacco use, whether you smoke it or chew it

If you have any of the above, take extra precautions with your oral care so you won’t develop periodontal disease and lose your teeth.

Can Gum Disease Affect Your Overall Health?

When left untreated, gum disease can adversely affect your major organs and your overall health. The bacteria that are in your mouth, especially when you have abscessed teeth, can be carried to the rest of the body through the bloodstream and can negatively affect your heart, lungs, bones, liver, and every other system in your body. For example:

  • Heart disease: Periodontal disease has shown to be higher in those who have heart disease.
  • Diabetes: Uncontrolled blood glucose levels in diabetics have been associated with the onset of gingivitis, in addition to the kidney disease, neural damage, and loss of vision that often occur with diabetes.
  • Lung disease: Bacteria in the mouth can be transmitted to the lungs through the normal breathing process and can cause lung disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, or AAP.
  • Stroke: Many people who had suffered an arterial stroke were found to have a higher incidence of gingival disease than those who had other types of strokes.
  • Cancers: According to the AAP, men with periodontal disease had a 30 percent higher rate of blood cancers, 54 percent higher rate of pancreatic cancer, and 49 percent higher rate of kidney cancer than those with good oral health.

What Are The Best Methods For Treating Gum Disease?

The absolute best method for avoiding gum disease is to prevent its occurrence in the first place, which starts with good oral hygiene that includes regular dental checkups. Since gingivitis is often asymptomatic, a dental checkup may uncover signs of gingivitis that you would otherwise have missed. Be sure to brush twice a day, preferably after each meal or snack, and floss at least once every day. Speak with your dentist about additional tips and treatments that will help minimize the impact of those times that you’re unable to brush or floss.

If you need to schedule a checkup, please call our office. Alternatively, you can use our convenient online booking tool at your convenience, but contact us today. We look forward to working with you.

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