Gingivitis (also referred to as gum or periodontal disease) is gum inflammation that is caused by plaque and bacterial growth. In early stages, bacteria from plaque build-up will cause the gums to become inflamed, which leads to bleeding during tooth brushing. If gingivitis is left untreated, it may advance to periodontitis, wherein the inner layer of the gum and underlying bone structure pull apart and the teeth are no longer firmly planted in their individual sockets. Then, small pockets between the teeth and gums collect food and other debris, and become further infected. The body’s immune system will attempt to fight infection by releasing toxins; however, these toxins have an unfortunate side effect. They break down the bone and tissues that hold teeth in place, deepening existing pockets as more tissue and bone are destroyed. Since the affected teeth are no longer anchored firmly in place, they become loose and may eventually fall out.
Other health factors such as family history, puberty, menopause, HIV, smoking, menstruation, diabetes, poor oral hygiene habits, cancer and pregnancy are also known to increase gum sensitivity, increasing the likelihood of gingivitis. Plaque is the leading cause of gum disease, and gum disease is the primary cause of adult tooth loss. Gum disease has also been linked to heart disease and strokes.
Though gingivitis can progress painlessly, certain symptoms should be taken seriously. These include:
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Increasing space between teeth and gums
- Tender, swollen or red gums
- Bad breath
What is gingivitis? It is a roadblock to your health. Good oral hygiene, thoughtful dietary choices and regular professional cleanings are a great way to treat and reverse the effects of gingivitis. To combat existing gingivitis or to create a healthy environment for your mouth to prevent gum disease, consider enrolling with EDP Dental Plan, a discount dental plan that can help you save up to 70% on your next dental proceedures. Please complete our registration form or call us at (631) 272-5230 to enroll today.