Gingivitis and periodontal diseases usually develop from unusual bacterial growth in your mouth. Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum problems, and if left untreated, it may turn into severe periodontal disease. Learning about the causes of gingivitis and periodontal diseases helps minimize risk for future dental problems.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontal disease. In this stage, your gums become red, swollen, and will bleed easily during brushing. It can be caused by bacterial plaque that accumulates on the tooth’s surface from poor dental hygiene. During this time, gums feel irritated, but there is no major discomfort. It is the mildest form of periodontal disease; therefore, there is usually no bone or surrounding tissue damage. The effects of Gingivitis are reversible with adequate professional treatment and performing good oral care. If the condition goes untreated, however, it can develop into periodontitis.
What is Periodontitis?
If the plaque is not properly cleaned and spreads below the gum line, the toxins produced by the plaque can stimulate inflammation. The immune system attacks this bacteria so the bone and gum tissues that hold the tooth will begin to separate. The gums then start to separate from the teeth forming large spaces between the gums and teeth referred to as pockets. As debris collects in these pockets, the pockets deepen and begin infecting the area, causing the gum and bone tissues to deteriorate. It can severely damage the tissues and bone that support the teeth. The effects of periodontal disease can be permanent and irreversible. As teeth become loose and start to fall out, they may need to be removed.
Main Causes or Risk Factors
Several factors may contribute to gingivitis. These may include smoking, aging, genetic factors, stress, inadequate nutrition, hormonal fluctuations, certain medical conditions, certain medication use, and so on. The following are the main causes linked to a higher risk of gingivitis and periodontitis:
- Poor oral hygiene: Patients with poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing adequately or on a daily basis can contribute to developing gingivitis.
- Smoking: Regular smokers have a high risk of developing gum problems. Smoking can also reduce the chances of treatment. The treatment is ineffective in 95% of cases where the patient is a heavy smoker.
- Medical conditions: Patients with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and AIDS, for instance have a higher chance of gum diseases.
- Medications: certain medications such as antihypertensive drugs or vasodilating agents, immunotherapy drugs, and other medicines that reduce saliva can increase the chance of gum disease in patients.
- Genetic factors: those with a family history of genetic predispositions are also susceptible to gum disease due to these genetic factors.
- Aging: this is one of the most common factors of dental problems shown in older aged individuals.
- Hormonal fluctuations in women: There are certain hormonal fluctuations such as those occurring during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation, which makes women’s gums more sensitive. These can cause gingivitis to develop in women.
What are the treatments for gingivitis and periodontal diseases?
At the initial stages, gingivitis can be treated by consulting with a dental professional, taking the prescribed medication, and taking oral hygiene care. Here is how you can prevent gingivitis and periodontitis:
Good oral hygiene
Good oral hygiene is essential in preventing infection and ensuring gums are healthy.
Here are some terrific tips for maintaining good oral hygiene:
- Brushing teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day reduces the risk of infection. It is best to consult with a dentist or expert periodontist for choosing the best type of brush for your oral hygiene because if you have sensitive gums, using the wrong brush may damage the gum tissues more.
- Use floss or an interdental brush to clean between the teeth spaces that the brush cannot reach.
- Brush carefully if your teeth are uneven, crooked, have crowns, dentures, fillings, etc.
- It is recommended to use an antibacterial mouthwash to help prevent bacteria from growing and reduce any inflammation.
- It is best to get your teeth cleaned up by a professional at least once every six months.
Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Therefore, if good oral hygiene is not maintained, it can reappear.
Medication and non-surgical treatments
In various cases, just maintaining proper dental care may not resolve the issue as the problem could be genetic or due to a specific medical condition. In that case, the periodontist may recommend medication to treat the disease or may provide non-surgical treatments based on the severity of your dental problems.
Gum surgery treatment
In severe cases of periodontitis, gum surgery could be necessary. Your periodontist may need to run specific tests and examinations to determine the best treatment for your gum disease. It is best not to delay booking a consultation when you feel any inflammation or experience other dental problems.
If you are suffering from any dental issues, it is best to consult with our expert at Advanced Periodontics and Implantology. Our experts will conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify and minimize any risks of gingivitis and periodontitis. Schedule an appointment with us today!