Gingivitis is a periodontal disease that causes irritation, redness, and swelling of a part of the gums called the gingiva. The gingiva is located around each tooth’s base. If not treated properly, this inflammation can lead to more serious gum disease that can cause the loss of teeth.
Causes of Gingivitis
The formation of excess plaque on teeth can cause the gum tissue to become inflamed, possibly leading to gingivitis. Plaque is mainly composed of invisible bacteria that comes from starches and sugars interacting with your mouth’s normal pool of bacteria. When plaque is not removed, it can harden beneath the gum line and turn into a substance called tartar. The solid coating of tartar protects the bacteria building up at the gumline, causing irritation. When plaque and tartar are not removed, your gums can begin to swell and become inflamed, tender, and may bleed.
Other causes of gingivitis might include hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, making gums more sensitive and increasing the possibility of inflammation. Gingivitis has also been linked to certain systemic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and HIV. Some medications, such as anticonvulsants and calcium channel blockers, can reduce the flow of saliva in your mouth, which can cause abnormalities in the growth of gum tissue. Smoking or chewing tobacco tends to lead to the development of this gum disease, and a family history of gingivitis can predispose you to acquire periodontal issues.
Symptoms To Watch For
Some of the signs of gingivitis include:
- Red, puffy gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
- Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth that persists
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
- Loose teeth or teeth that are separating
- Your bite seems to be different
- Partial dentures feel as though they fit differently
If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact your local dental practitioner or call us at Dentistry of Johns Creek in Suwanee, Georgia, to schedule a check-up and screening for gingivitis.
How Gingivitis Is Treated</h3
The professionals working alongside Dr. Robert Shackelford D.D.S. at Dentistry of Johns Creek understand that early treatment and prevention of gum disease is important to help prevent more serious periodontitis and eventual tooth loss.
Prevention is the key to healthy gums and teeth, which is why Dr. Robert Shackelford, D.D.S. and most dental hygienists advise you to have your teeth professionally cleaned and scaled every six months to remove plaque build-up and tartar that can cause gingivitis. Regular tooth brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and daily flossing of teeth helps carry away plaque before a build-up of tartar can form.
This article is not meant to take the place of professional dental advice. Please contact the friendly staff at Dentistry of Johns Creek if you have any questions concerning gingivitis or if you wish to schedule an appointment.