Gingivitis is a medical condition that affects the gums. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease that leads to gums inflammation, redness and swelling. Gingivitis is a non-destructive type of periodontal disease, but when untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.
This dental problem might be painless at the start, it might take some time before you will get to know that you have gingivitis.
If you start to notice frequent gums bleeding after brushing or flossing, you should not ignore this sign, it could be gingivitis. Due to constant irritation of your gums, people with gingivitis are more likely to have frequent gums bleeding or gums infection. Without proper treatments gingivitis can progress into more serious gum problem such periodontitis.
One more thing, gingivitis is very common both in children and in adults. Poor oral hygiene and plaque accumulation are the most common cause of this oral problem. As we move on on this article, we will look at the early symptoms and possible causes of gingivitis. But before I go into that I would like you to know the different types of gingivitis.
Types of gingivitis
This oral problem is divided into different categories based on the cause. Almost every single person in the world will have a case of gingivitis at some point in life. Knowing the type and underlying cause of your gingivitis can be of a great help to in finding suitable treatments.
The first type of gingivitis is known as, plaque induced gingivitis. Under this group are cases of gingivitis caused by plaque, medications or malnutrition. The second type is known as non-plaque induced gingivitis. This are cases of gingivitis that are caused due to allergic reaction, disease or infection. The presence of certain harmful microorganisms such as bacteria or virus in the body can lead to gingivitis and gums infection.
Possible causes of gingivitis
1. Dental plaque: plaque buildups and bacteria accumulation are the most common cause of gingivitis. Plaque is more likely to buildup when you don’t take good care of your teeth and gums. Taking much of sugary foods and foods that tend to stick on your teeth and gums can easily cause gingivitis. Plaque attracts lots of harmful bacteria to the mouth.
These bacteria produces acids that can irritate your gums leading to frequent gums bleeding, redness and Inflammation. Dental plaque can be hard to clean off when brushing, some are invisible, forming sticky film composed mainly of bacteria. Plaque can trigger your immune response, which, in turn, can eventually lead to the destruction of your gum tissues. (1) Removing the accumulated plaque on your gum line can be very difficult, a professional dental cleaning might be required to get rid of them.
2. Nutritional deficiency : not taking enough vitamins and minerals can lead to gum disease and gingivitis. Vitamin C deficiency, smoking or chewing tobacco leads to different oral problems. People that smoke regularly are at high risk of developing gingivitis unlike non-smokers. Foods and fruits such as: milk, eggs, liver, fortified cereals, darkly colored orange or green vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and kale), citrus fruits and mangoes are all good source of vitamins.
If you are not sure whether the foods you are taking are healthy for your mouth. Your dentist and hygienist can give you a guide on what you can eat or avoid to keep your mouth healthy.
the gums are highly sensitive and prone to irritation during puberty, menopause, menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. At any of these point in life, there will be constant hormonal changes in the body. Your gums will be sensitive, increasing your risk of gum inflammation and bleeding. With your gums being so susceptible to infections and disease, not taking good care of your gums can lead to gingivitis or more severe gum disease.
4. Disease: if you experience persistent gingivitis, then it’s advisable that you go for checkups. Some disease such as leukemia, HIV/AIDS, cancer and diabetes can all lead to persistent gingivitis. The longer any of these diseases remain in your body, the more they irritate your gingiva (the gums around the base of your teeth) causing inflammation. After some period of time your gums will become swollen and bleed easily, you might also have gums recession and tooth decay.
5. Medications: there are some medications that can affect your oral health. Birth control pills and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) can interfere with the normal growth and health of your gums and teeth. Dilantin and anti-angina medications can cause a reduction in the production of saliva and can eventually lead to dental problems.
6. Genetics : this is a factor that might increase your risk of gingivitis. If both of your parents or any of them have had gingivitis, you will be at higher risk of having it too.
Symptoms of gingivitis
The early signs of gingivitis are usually painless. At the early stage, many patients will not even know that they have gingivitis because there might be no discomfort. If you have gingivitis you might experience most of this symptoms:
- Frequent gums bleeding when brushing and flossing
- Red, puffy gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums recession
- Swollen and tender gums that might be painful when touched
Finally, when dealing with gingivitis it’s important that you visit your dentist and hygienist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Gingivitis doesn’t often cause pain, but when untreated it can progress to more serious gum disease and damages. It can spread rapidly covering much of your gum tissues and the bones surrounding your teeth.
More serious condition can lead to tooth loss, gums recession and permanent damage to your gum tissues.