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Posted on: July 22, 2020
Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Fort Lauderdale, FL
It’s important to understand the symptoms of gingivitis since they are subtle and rarely cause pain. For example, seeing blood after flossing and brushing your teeth isn’t normal, yet many people don’t worry about it. If this happens to you, you need to have a dental professional examine your gums.
About 48 percent of adults in the US over 30 have gum disease, according to the CDC. Nearly nine percent of adults have mild periodontal disease, 30 percent have a moderate form of the disease and about nine percent have severe periodontal disease.
Men are more likely to develop gum disease than women, as are smokers. It’s believed that men develop gum disease more often than women because they are less likely to make and keep routine dental exams.
What Signs Indicate Gingivitis?
Gingivitis has subtle symptoms, including:
- Red or purplish gums
- Puffy, tender gums
- Swollen gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Shiny gums
- Unexplained bad breath
If you do not seek treatment for gingivitis, your gum disease may progress to periodontal disease, which has these additional symptoms:
- Visible pus between your teeth
- Receding gums, making your teeth appear longer
- New spaces between your teeth
- Wobbly teeth
- Pain while chewing
- Partial dentures that don’t fit right anymore
How Do People Get Gingivitis?
When left on your teeth for too long, the bacteria in dental plaque cause gingivitis. If you practice good oral hygiene and visit a dentist every six months for a routine exam and professional teeth cleaning, you can keep plaque off your teeth and prevent gingivitis. If you don’t, the plaque will turn into tartar (hardened plaque) which can only be removed by a dental professional.
These factors make it more likely for some people to develop gum disease:
- Crowded teeth
- Fluctuating hormones from menopause or pregnancy
- A high-sugar diet
- Certain medications
- Some illnesses
- Ill-fitting dental bridges
Smoking is a major cause of gum disease, according to the CDC. Smokers have a risk of developing gum disease that is twice as high as non-smokers. Gum disease treatment also is less effective for smokers.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontal disease. Like gingivitis, periodontal disease is caused by plaque. The plaque gets under the gumline and begins damaging the teeth’s support system. The gums can detach from the teeth as pockets of pus form in the spaces.
How Is Periodontal Disease Linked to Other Serious Chronic Conditions?
According to the CDC, researchers have found evidence of a link between gum disease and other chronic medical conditions, including:
- Heart Disease: The American College of Cardiology published research showing a definite connection between periodontal disease and heart disease in numerous studies.
- Hypertension: Blood pressure medication can be up to 20 percent less effective for hypertensive patients if they also have periodontal disease, according to the American Heart Association.
- Diabetes: The Mayo Clinic says diabetics who have gum disease have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar than people with healthy gums.
- Cognitive Function: Studies have shown a link between periodontal disease and cognitive function.
- Strokes: People with gum disease have been shown to be twice as likely to have large artery strokes than people without gum disease.
- Premature Babies: Some studies have shown that women with gum disease have a higher chance of delivering a premature baby.
- Pneumonia: If you inhale bacteria from your mouth into your lungs, you have a higher risk of developing pneumonia or other respiratory diseases, according to The Mayo Clinic.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Alzheimer’s patients age 70 and over are more than twice as likely to have gum disease than people with healthy gums.
Uncontrolled periodontal disease can put you at a higher risk for developing serious health conditions. In fact, the 2000 Surgeon General’s report states that untreated oral health issues are “promoting the onset of life-threatening diseases which are responsible for the deaths of millions of Americans each year.”
If you notice any symptoms of gum disease, contact us. Treatment to restore your gum health can lower your risk of developing systemic ailments.
What Is Gingivitis Treatment Like?
Prevention is the best gingivitis treatment. Practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly for an oral exam and teeth cleaning. If you keep gingivitis-causing plaque off your teeth, you can keep the disease at bay.
If gingivitis progresses, our dentist may recommend a deep cleaning. This differs from a typical teeth cleaning as it removes plaque and tartar from under your gums. Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend gum surgery to replace gum tissue or bone lost to periodontal disease.
Contact us as soon as you notice any gum disease symptoms. The earlier you start treatment, the better. It is much easier to treat gingivitis than periodontal disease, especially since gingivitis is curable. Periodontal disease can’t be cured, but treatment can halt the disease’s progression.