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Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Indiana

Do you believe that you may have gingivitis? If so, you are not alone. Many people develop gingivitis and, unfortunately, some do not even realize it. If your gums look swollen or you see blood when you floss or brush, don’t ignore it. It’s not normal for gums to bleed.

Untreated gingivitis may progress and turn into periodontal disease. Gum disease is a general term covering both gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is curable; periodontal disease isn’t, but dental professionals can control it with treatment. Periodontitis can be mild, moderate, or severe. The CDC reports that almost half of all adults experience some form of gum disease. While gingivitis does not always turn into periodontal disease, no one develops periodontal disease without having had gingivitis first.

What Symptoms Indicate Gingivitis?

The typical signs of gingivitis are:

  • Swollen, puffy gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Unexplained bad breath

If you leave gingivitis untreated, it may advance to periodontal disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines periodontitis as “inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets.” If you have periodontal disease, you may notice:

  • Receding gums
  • New gaps between your teeth
  • Gums that pull away from your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Why Do Some People Develop Gingivitis?

Gingivitis develops when plaque builds up on your teeth and turns into tartar, the yellowish substance you may notice at your gumline. The bacteria in the plaque and tartar produce toxins, which will irritate your gums. People who are lax in their oral care routine may develop gingivitis, especially if they have one or more risk factors.

You are more likely to see signs of gingivitis if you:

  • Have a family history of gum disease
  • Use tobacco
  • Are pregnant or are undergoing hormonal changes
  • Have a dry mouth
  • Have poor nutritional habits
  • Suffer from uncontrolled diabetes
  • Have crooked teeth that are difficult to keep clean

How Does Gum Disease Affect Overall Health?

There is a definite link between gum disease and overall health. Individuals with untreated periodontal disease may find that it causes or contributes to health problems throughout their bodies. Some conditions researchers have linked to gum disease are:

  • Rheumatic Disease: Nearly four million Americans have a painful rheumatic disease that affects their joints or other parts of the body. Periodontal disease can contribute to the progression of the disease.
  • Heart Disease: The American Academy of Periodontology says there is a link between gum disease inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Periodontal disease can also make certain existing heart conditions worse.
  • Stroke: Research published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Stroke, claims that severe periodontitis is a major risk factor for having an ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by an artery blockage that prevents blood that contains oxygen from reaching the brain.
  • Diabetes: The European Federation of Periodontology says periodontal disease adversely affects blood sugar levels in adults without type 2 diabetes. It also makes it harder for diabetics to control their blood sugar.
  • Blood Pressure: People with both hypertension and gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood pressure than people with healthy gums according to the American Heart Association. Treatment for periodontal disease can lower blood pressure by up to 13 points.
  • Respiratory Diseases: You can breathe the bacteria from gum disease into your lungs, which could cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
  • Memory: An article in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry says that adults with gingivitis did not do as well on memory tests as adults without gingivitis.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction is more common in men with chronic periodontitis. The bacteria released from infected gums can enter the bloodstream and inflame blood vessels. This can block blood flow, making erections difficult.
  • Premature Babies: One form of bacteria in periodontal disease can enter a pregnant woman’s bloodstream, causing her baby to be born prematurely and have a low birth weight, according to research published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine.

Studies have proven that oral health and overall health are connected. Having gum disease can negatively affect your health, making treatment extremely important.

What Does Gingivitis Treatment Consist Of?

Your dentist can determine if you have gingivitis. If you do, he or she will recommend a professional teeth cleaning. You’ll get instructions in proper brushing and flossing techniques. There are home remedies online, but they will not work if you have tartar on your teeth. Only a dental professional can remove tartar from your teeth.

If your gum disease advances beyond gingivitis, treatment is more aggressive. Depending on the degree of periodontal disease you have, your treatment can include a scaling and root planing to remove the tartar on your teeth and beneath your gums. This non-surgical deep cleaning procedure is painless as you will have a local anesthetic. Surgery is an option if you have severe periodontal disease.

We can help you with gingivitis treatment. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. We want to see you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible.

We look forward to welcoming you as a new patient.

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