Bellingham Dentist

Knowing the Dangers of Gingivitis

Causes, Risk Factors and Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. It’s mild and very common with a tendency to increase in severity as people age. However, gingivitis is most commonly seen in late adolescence. It is most often unaddressed and without disturbing symptoms, like pain. However, gums with gingivitis are red, irritated and swollen. Under the umbrella of gum diseases, gingivitis is an early stage. If it goes on untreated, it can lead to the more destructive and severe form – periodontitis – which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

What causes gingivitis?

It is commonly caused by plaque buildup. Plaque is an extremely sticky, colorless to pale yellow deposit of bacteria that regularly builds up on teeth if not brushed regularly. The bacteria produce acids that attack tooth enamel and can damage the gums.

Risk Factors for Gingivitis

The most common is poor oral hygiene. Habits of irregular and improper tooth brushing and flossing definitely are poor oral hygiene practices. Apart from this are certain disease conditions notably diabetes and HIV/AIDS which impede the immune system in battling inflammation and infection. Pregnancy can alter hormone levels and leave gums defenseless in fighting infections. Certain medicines can trigger gingivitis, also like oral contraceptives, steroids, anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers, and chemotherapy. Smoking or chewing on tobacco is another risk factor. Situations like crooked teeth, broken fillings and poorly fitting dental appliances are still others. Some people are genetically prone to gum disease.

How do you know you may have gingivitis?

As mentioned, redness, swelling and irritation may be present. Bleeding and bad breath might be noted. You can easily ignore these symptoms, but remember the risk factors. You might not recognize the signs or you are worried about seeking care from a dental professional, your condition will probably get worse. Untreated gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small pockets where bacteria can get trapped. Bacteria in these pockets destroy the bone supporting the teeth. That’s how you can lose your teeth.

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Seeking Professional Dental Care in Bellingham

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms see your Bellingham dentist right away and get a proper assessment. If these symptoms persist, talk to us to determine the best treatment.