Have you noticed your gums bleeding lately or feeling tender or sore? If so, you may have gingivitis, the earliest (and most common) stage of periodontal (gum) disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately half of all American adults age 30 and older have periodontal (gum) disease. There is no one cause of gingivitis, but rather several factors that can increase one’s risk of developing the condition. Continue reading to learn about some of the most common risk factors.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is the foundation of healthy teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing remove plaque, a sticky film composed of food debris and bacteria, from the teeth and gum line. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, which can irritate and inflame the gums over time. This, in turn, can cause the gums to swell and bleed.
Smoking is detrimental to your oral health in many ways, one of which is the fact that it increases your risk of gingivitis. Smoking impairs your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off gum infections. Smoking also makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once gingivitis has already developed.
Like smoking, diabetes impairs your immune system, in turn affecting its ability protect against bacteria and infection. If you are diabetic, it is crucial you manage your diabetes in order to reduce your risk of health conditions, including gingivitis.
Dental fillings are designed to protect the teeth and gums from dental problems such as gum disease. However, when fillings become defective, they may actually increase your risk of developing an infection. Additionally, fillings that have cracked or weakened can trap plaque, which can lead to gingivitis. This is why regular dental exams are important. During a dental exam, your dentist can monitor your fillings and other restorations. If a problem is detected with your restoration, your dentist can replace it with a new one.
The Good News
Unbeknownst to some, gingivitis is reversible. Good oral hygiene (e.g., brushing and flossing) can eliminate the infection while regular dental exams allow your dentist to monitor the condition to determine whether professional dental treatment is necessary to restore oral health. At the comprehensive dental practice of Dr. Hampton, we offer several periodontal dentistry treatments that aim to prevent and manage the various stages of gum disease. Dr. Hampton can help you choose an appropriate treatment based on your symptoms and needs.
To learn more about periodontal dentistry at The Hamptons Dental, please contact our office today.