Sore gums? It might be gum disease.
Also known as Gingivitis, gum disease begins with bacterial growth in your mouth and could result in tooth loss if it is not treated correctly. In the earlier stages of gum disease, bacteria from plaque buildup causes the gums to become irritated and inflamed. This inflammation may cause gums to bleed easily during brushing. If Gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis — a much more severe infection.
Causes of Gum Disease
Although plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, other factors can lead to gingivitis or periodontitis. These include:
- Hormonal changes: Natural bodily occurrences such as pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and menstruation may make gums more sensitive, which leaves them more vulnerable to Gingivitis.
- Illness: Sickness may affect the health conditions of your gums. Diseases such as cancer or HIV affect your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight infections. Also, individuals with diabetes may be more prone to gum disease. Because diabetes affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, patients with this illness are at a higher risk of developing infections.
- Medications: Medicine may affect oral health because some types lessen the flow of saliva that has a protective effect on the teeth and gums.
- Bad Habits: Smoking and other tobacco products make it harder for gum tissue to repair itself.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: This cause may seem very obvious, but it remains vital. Skipping the toothbrush or floss on a daily basis makes it easier for gum disease to develop.
- Family History of Dental Disease: Medical histories may always be a contributing factor to any disease or illness.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease may progress painlessly and without any visible indicators. Here are seven symptoms to watch in the mirror:
- Gums that bleed during brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures
As always, if you notice any of these systems you should seek a consultation with your Dental Care Center dentist, and if not, you should always schedule regular checkups.