Gingivitis: Causes and Prevention

Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease that is caused by the buildup of plaque and bacteria on the teeth. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious oral health conditions such as advanced gum disease (periodontal disease), which can result in tooth loss in adults. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent gingivitis and keep your mouth healthy.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque build-up on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and along the gum line. Over time, plaque can harden into tartar, which can irritate the gums and cause them to become inflamed.

The most common sign of gingivitis is red, swollen, and tender gums. Other symptoms may include bleeding from the gums when brushing or flossing, bad breath that will not go away, receding gums, and loose teeth. If left untreated, these symptoms can worsen and lead to other oral health issues such as tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even bone loss.

Causes and Risk Factors

#1. Poor Oral Hygiene

Plaque build-up on the teeth can lead to an accumulation of bacteria that can cause gingivitis. This build-up can occur if a person does not brush and floss regularly, allowing plaque to accumulate on the teeth and along the gum line. 

#2. Tobacco Use

Tobacco use can increase the risk of developing gingivitis, as it can cause a person’s salivary flow to decrease, leading to dry mouth. Saliva helps to keep the mouth clean by washing away bacteria and food debris that can accumulate on the teeth.

#3. Poor Diet

Eating foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates can cause plaque to accumulate on the teeth and promote bacterial growth. Additionally, not eating enough nutritious foods that contain vitamins and minerals needed for healthy gums can lead to gum inflammation.

#4. Pregnancy

Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to gingivitis due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Hormonal changes can cause the gums to become more sensitive, making them more prone to infection and inflammation.

#5. Certain illnesses

Certain illnesses, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can make a person more susceptible to developing gingivitis. People with diabetes have an increased risk of gum disease due to the condition’s effects on blood sugar levels, which can cause changes in the mouth that can lead to infection. Additionally, people with HIV/AIDS may be more likely to develop gingivitis due to their weakened immune systems, which can make them more vulnerable to infection.

Treatment Options for Gingivitis

1. Professional Dental Cleanings

Professional cleanings are one of the most effective ways to reverse and treat gingivitis. During a professional cleaning, a dentist or hygienist will use special tools to remove tartar and plaque buildup from the teeth. This can help reduce irritation and inflammation of the gums, as well as prevent further build-up.  

2. Scaling and Root Planing

For people with advanced-stage of gum disease, scaling and root planing (SRP) may be necessary. SRP is a deep cleaning procedure that removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line, as well as from the roots of the teeth.

3. Antibiotics

Oral antibiotics can help reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth and prevent further gum damage. Depending on the severity of the infection, antibiotics may be taken orally or applied directly to the gums.

4. Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat advanced gingivitis. The most common type of surgery used to treat gingivitis is a gum flap procedure, which involves cutting away the infected tissue and reshaping the gums so that they can heal properly. 

Preventive Measures

Visit Sunrise Emergency and Family Dental Care Today!

Our team of experienced dental professionals specializes in providing comprehensive dental care for all ages. We offer a range of services, including preventive care, restorative treatments, cosmetic dentistry, and more. Our goal is to ensure that all of our patients receive the best possible care and that their teeth remain healthy for a lifetime.

If you are interested in learning more about our dental services, contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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