Gingivitis is a serious oral health disease that causes inflammation, redness, and tenderness of the gums. If left untreated, it can lead to gum recession, periodontal disease, and tooth loss, so everyone should take the threat of gingivitis seriously. Read on to find out about the seven most common causes of gingivitis to find out how to avoid this serious disease.
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
There are plenty of good reasons that experts recommend daily brushing and flossing and twice-yearly professional cleanings. Ignoring home oral hygiene allows plaque to build up and form tartar, setting the stage for the development of gingivitis. The good news is, gingivitis is reversible if it’s caught in its earliest stages. Schedule an appointment with a good general dentist near me at the first signs of gum disease to maximize the chances of recovery.
2. Tobacco Use
Nicotine use makes people more vulnerable to gingivitis and other gum infections. Both smoking cigarettes and using chewing tobacco inhibit the normal functioning of soft tissues in the mouth, and both of these habits can also cause or contribute to myriad other health conditions. Quitting is hard, but it’s the best thing tobacco users can do to support health and wellness.
3. Hormonal Shifts
Women are more susceptible to gum disease when they go through certain hormonal shifts, including those associated with pregnancy and normal menstrual cycles. Not all expecting mothers will experience gum problems, but it’s wise to pay some extra attention to oral hygiene during this time. The symptoms may disappear after pregnancy, but it’s still important to visit a dentist if signs of pregnancy-related gingivitis appear.
4. Medication Use
All prescription medications have side effects. Some are known to reduce saliva production, causing dry mouth. A chronically dry mouth creates a perfect environment for bacterial spread, which can raise patients’ chances of developing gingivitis. Speak with the prescribing doctor about all concerning side effects, including problems with gum health.
5. Nutritional Deficiencies
Certain nutritional deficiencies can be harmful to people’s gum health. Vitamin C, in particular, is essential for maintaining good oral health. The best way to avoid nutritional deficiencies is to follow a healthy diet that’s high in vitamin C, but some people can also benefit from taking multivitamins or more targeted supplements.
6. Crooked Teeth
Having crooked teeth causes more than just confidence issues. It can also contribute to the risk of developing gingivitis. Crowding and misalignments create extra space for plaque to build up, which can eventually cause gum disease. People with crooked teeth may need to brush and floss more carefully or consider visiting a dentist or orthodontist for tooth realignment.
7. Genetic Predisposition
Some people are more prone to gum disease than others, even if they practice good oral hygiene, have straight teeth, and eat a healthy diet. Genetic predisposition doesn’t mean gum disease will become an inevitable problem. It just means that people with a family history of gingivitis should be even more vigilant than most about practicing good oral hygiene and visiting their dentists for twice-yearly checkups.
The Bottom Line
Untreated gingivitis can become a serious, very difficult to resolve, problem. People who have noticed swelling, sensitivity or bleeding gums should make appointments with their dentists right away for help identifying the factors that could be contributing to gingivitis and coming up with a treatment plan.