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Posted on: July 20, 2020
Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Falls Church, VA
Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease, which can potentially cause the loss of permanent teeth and other health issues for those affected by this condition. At our dental office, we will work with you and your family to determine the most effective ways to prevent gingivitis and stop its progress if it has already begun. This can help to ensure that you have the healthiest and most beautiful teeth and gums, now and in the future. Our dentists are committed to providing you with the high-quality care you need, at an affordable cost.
What Are Gingivitis and Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an inflammatory condition that affects the gum tissue that supports your teeth. Gingivitis is the mildest form of the disease, which might not produce any symptoms during its earliest stages and could go unnoticed until it is more serious and dangerous to your oral health. In later stages, the symptoms of periodontal disease may include severe bleeding of the gums, loosening of the teeth and other problems that could affect your overall health and well-being.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
One of the most common symptoms of gum disease is bleeding from the gums after brushing or flossing. During an exam, our dental team will also look for other symptoms of gingivitis and periodontal disease, which may include some or all of the following:
- Purple or dark red gums
- Swelling or puffiness of your gums
- Receding gums or an uneven gumline on adjacent teeth
- Discomfort or sensitivity when chewing, biting or putting pressure on your teeth or gums
- Spaces appearing between teeth and changes in your bite
- Bad breath, also called halitosis
A persistent or recurring bad taste in your mouth is sometimes a sign of gum disease. At our dental practice, we will perform a thorough examination of your mouth to determine whether you show any signs of gingivitis or developing gum disease. Prompt attention to these issues is required to promote the healthiest teeth and gums.
What Causes Gingivitis and Gum Disease?
Plaque is the most common reason for developing gum disease. This invisible film is composed of food debris and bacteria that feed on the sugars and carbohydrates in food. Over time, plaque builds up on your teeth until it is removed by brushing, flossing or professional dental cleanings. Plaque can cause tooth decay and irritation of the gum tissue surrounding your teeth, which can in turn result in gingivitis, the inflammation of the gingiva (gum tissue).
If not removed promptly, plaque can transform into a hard substance known as calculus or tartar. This can form a protective shield for bacteria, allowing them to more easily attack your teeth and gums. At our dental office, we provide comprehensive teeth cleaning services that eliminate plaque and tartar to reduce the risk of gum disease.
Who Is at Risk?
According to research reported on by the American Academy of Periodontology, men are at a higher risk than women for developing gum disease. Older people are also more at risk, with about 70 percent of those over 65 being affected by some form of gum disease or gingivitis. Nearly half of adults over 30 have periodontal disease, which makes it a serious concern for your dental health and physical well-being.
While poor dental hygiene is one of the most common reasons that people develop gum disease, these additional risk factors could increase your chance of developing this serious dental condition:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco is a definite risk factor that could make it more likely to develop gum disease.
- If you have a history of gum disease in your family, you may be at higher risk.
- Problems with your fillings, dental appliances or restorations could cause irritation and inflammation leading to gum disease.
- Diabetes and other autoimmune illnesses can increase the chance of developing gum disease at some point in your life.
- Dry mouth is a common contributing factor in many cases of periodontal disease. Some medications can cause dry mouth, so it is especially important to schedule regular dental exams if you take these medications.
- Improper eating habits and poor nutrition are often to blame for inflammation of the gums and a higher risk for gum disease. Vitamin C deficiency is particularly likely to cause problems.
Effects of Periodontal Disease on Your Health
Along with the potential for losing teeth and developing big gaps in your smile, gum disease has also been shown to have a significant effect on your overall health. You may be at higher risk of stroke, heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and several forms of cancer if you already suffer from periodontal disease. Treating gum disease and controlling its progression can significantly reduce the chance that you will develop any of these serious health threats. This will allow you to protect your health while ensuring that your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible. At our dental practice, we work with our patients to create effective plans for dealing with periodontal disease and successfully managing healthcare concerns.
The Right Treatment Regimen for You
Whether you are in the early stages of gingivitis or are dealing with chronic periodontitis, our skilled team will design a treatment regimen to address your dental needs and help you protect your teeth and gums from further damage. We strive to provide the best dental care in our area, so call us today to schedule an appointment with our team. We look forward to having the opportunity to protect your oral health for many years to come.