Gingivitis is an extremely common oral health issue. This non-destructive periodontal disease is most often caused by poor dental care at home. It causes inflammation of the gums, which are also called the gingiva.
The condition is seldom painful, so many patients are unaware that they have gingivitis. If your gums appear puffy or swollen, bleed when you floss or brush or you struggle with bad breath, you may have gingivitis. Even if you brush your teeth every day, you can still develop the condition.
At Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey (SDNJ), our dentists are well-versed in treating gingivitis. If you suspect that you have this condition, don't wait. Schedule an appointment now.
Causes of Gingivitis
Most gingivitis is plaque-induced. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film composed mostly of bacteria. When the bacteria found on everyone's teeth interact with food particles after you eat, plaque is the result. Proper oral hygiene is essential, as plaque re-forms very quickly.
When plaque hardens, it turns into tartar, which is especially hard to clean when it develops under your gumline. If left untreated, your gums can become inflamed, swollen and prone to bleeding.
Factors That Contribute to Gingivitis in Adults
Plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis. However, many factors can increase your risk of developing the condition, including:
- Tobacco: The chemicals ingested when you smoke or chew tobacco make it difficult for your gum tissue to repair itself.
- Hormone changes: Hormone levels change during pregnancy, menopause, puberty, monthly menstruation and even when someone is taking birth control. Changes in hormone levels can make gums more sensitive, which can make you more prone to gingivitis.
- Certain illnesses and diseases: Diseases like cancer and HIV interfere with the body's immune system. Along with diabetes, which affects the body's ability to use blood sugar, these conditions give patients a higher risk of infection and gum disease.
- Medications: A variety of medications impact the flow of saliva. Saliva is necessary to protect teeth and gums, and when it decreases, it makes you more prone to gingivitis.
- Family history: While you can't pass gingivitis on to your children, if you have a family history of gum disease, you could be genetically predisposed to it.
- Poor nutrition: When your body does not receive all the vitamins and minerals it needs, it can make you more susceptible to infections and gum disease.
- Aging: As you age, issues like dry mouth and other medical conditions can put you at a higher risk of developing gingivitis.
Visit a Gum Disease Specialist at SDNJ
While gingivitis is a more mild type of periodontal disease, when left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. This serious oral health concern is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Fortunately, when you maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly, periodontitis is largely preventable.
If you have gingivitis or another gum-related oral health concern, you can meet with our gum disease treatment specialist here at Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey in Manalapan, NJ. Make your appointment today.