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Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Atlanta

What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis and What Causes It?

If you’ve noticed minor bleeding when you brush your teeth or floss, or if you’ve noticed that you have bad breath, then you may have gingivitis. These are two of the early warnings of the disease, read on to learn how to avoid it and how to treat it.

Can Periodontal Disease Be Avoided?

Periodontal disease is both treatable and avoidable through a regimen of good oral hygiene. If you have gingival disease, you should see your dentist to ensure that you don’t need a deep cleaning or more intense treatment. When you eat, especially foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars, the bacteria in your mouth interact with the food and form a sticky substance called plaque. Normally, brushing and flossing will remove the plaque, but if it remains on your teeth, then it can lodge between the crevices of your teeth and gums and eventually turn into tartar. Tartar is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist and when left on your teeth, it can encourage the formation of decay, with the result that you can lose your teeth and permanently damage your gums and jawbone. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the U.S.

According to the CDC, more than 47 percent of adults over age 30 have some level of gingival disease, and by the time an individual reaches 65 or older, the number rises to more than 70 percent. The level is higher in men than women, and it escalates with age. Recognizing the warning signs early, however, can help you to avoid becoming one of these statistics. Your teeth are an integral part of your overall health, so it’s essential to keep them in good condition through a program of good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups.

How Do You Recognize Gingivitis and How Can You Avoid It?

When you learn to recognize the first signs of gingival disease, it’s easier to treat it and avoid recurrence. Unfortunately, gingivitis is often asymptomatic, so you won’t necessarily know you have it until it has already attacked your teeth and gums. Look for the following early signs of gingivitis and make sure to see your dentist if you notice them:

  • Bleeding when you floss or brush
  • Color changes in your gums, such as from pink to red or purple
  • Changes in the spaces between your teeth
  • Discomfort or pain when you chew
  • Loosened teeth
  • Perpetual bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Sensitive, swollen or painful gums

If you notice any of these, then schedule a consultation with your dentist as soon as you can. Healthy gums should be light pink and firm and they should fit snugly against your teeth. If the color is off or your gums aren’t snug against your teeth, it could be a sign that you’re developing gingival disease.

What Risk Factors Can Contribute to Getting Periodontal Disease?

The primary cause of gingivitis is inadequate oral hygiene. When you don’t remove the plaque from your teeth at least daily, then it begins to accumulate between your teeth and gums and can begin to cause decay. If left on long enough, then it can turn into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist. There are some factors that can increase your likelihood of developing gum disease, such as:

  • A genetic predisposition to develop gum disease
  • Diabetes
  • Inadequate nutrition, especially if your diet is low in vitamin C
  • Prescription or over-the-counter medications that cause dry mouth
  • Bridges and fillings or dental appliances that are defective or fit poorly
  • Tobacco use, whether you smoke it or chew it
  • Variations in hormone levels

If you have any of these factors, then you should be especially assiduous in your oral hygiene regimen.

Is Gingivitis Very Common?

Aside from genetic conditions and risk factors that can precipitate the onset of gingivitis, it’s a very common disease among all age levels. One reason for the prevalence of this easily-preventable disease is that people tend to disregard their dental health. Teeth are a vital component of your overall health, they’re not meant to just provide an aesthetically pleasing smile. They’re the first step of your digestive system and are necessary for proper digestion. They don’t regenerate as your skin does – once you lose your teeth, they’re gone forever. You can obtain dentures and implants, but they don’t work as well as your natural teeth and you’ll need good oral hygiene to keep them, too. So avoid being one of the statistics and take good care of your teeth.

Can Periodontal Disease Affect Your Physical Health?

Gingival disease can negatively impact your physical health and all of your major organs as well as your teeth. Research has linked periodontal disease to major health issues such as the following:

  • Various types of cancer: Men who had gingival disease were 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers, 49 percent more likely to develop cancer of the kidneys, and 54 percent more likely to develop cancer in their pancreas.
  • The risk of cardiac disease, including a heart attack, increases for those who have gingivitis.
  • Those who had diabetes and didn’t control their blood glucose levels were more likely to have gum disease which can negatively impact their blood glucose levels and increase their risk for renal disease, nerve damage, and loss of vision.
  • Those with gingivitis were almost three times more likely to have blocked arteries, which can result in a stroke.
  • The bacteria in the mouth of those with gum disease can travel to the lungs and cause diseases such as pneumonia.

What Are Methods for Preventing Gum Disease?

The best method for preventing gum disease is to maintain a healthy diet with adequate hydration and to ensure that you adopt a program of good oral hygiene. Your dentist can provide you with their recommendations for how frequently you should brush and floss based on your unique needs, but you need to follow their recommendations. Remember, gingival disease can be present for some time without your being aware of it, so a lack of symptoms doesn’t mean a lack of the disease.

If you haven’t had a dental checkup in a while, then now’s a good time to make an appointment. You can call our office for an appointment or you can schedule one online. Either way, get started on your good oral hygiene regimen and contact us. Let us help you regain your good oral health. Contact us today, we look forward to hearing from you.

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