If you don't follow a regular dental hygiene regimen, you have a good chance of developing gingivitis. Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar, is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed or flossed. Gingivitis is treatable, as long as you practice proper oral hygiene and visit a dental professional regularly.
Symptoms of gingivitis include tender, swollen gums, bleeding gums, gums that have pulled away from teeth, and loose teeth. A person with gingivitis might also experience pain when chewing food, and have sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks. Partial dentures may no longer fit, and the person may have bad breath that doesn't improve after brushing teeth.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can become a much more serious infection. Periodontitis is the next stage of gingivitis, and is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. As gums begin to separate from the teeth, it can cause injury to the soft tissue and underlying bone that support the teeth. If the infection isn't treated by a dentist, the tooth may fall out or need to be removed.
In addition to the threat of turning into periodontitis, gingivitis has been linked with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and lung disease. While gingivitis doesn't appear to cause these diseases, it may increase the patient's risk of developing them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, also note that gingivitis can increase the risk of a woman giving birth to a low-birth-weight or premature baby.
If you suspect you may have gingivitis, visit your dentist immediately for a thorough cleaning, an examination, and an assessment of your dental health. Gingivitis can be treated, but if left unchecked, it can worsen dramatically. For more information, please contact:
Webster Cosmetic Dentistry, Ltd.
1121 Warren Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515