18th Feb, 2016
Gingivitis a.k.a Gum swelling is a very common disease of the gum. Though it is a mild form of gum disease, it can progress if untreated with severe complications.
The occurrence of gingivitis is high but because most cases of gingivitis are rarely painful, most people do not know they have the disease. Gum swelling can occur in all ages.
What Causes Gingivitis?
Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gingivitis. This is mostly due to the fact that poor oral hygiene leads to plaques which later cause irritation of the gum, thereby leading to the swelling
Other causes include:
- Genetics: A family history of gum diseases could put you at risk.
- Medications: Some medications such as those used to treat heart conditions (Angina) and those used to treat convulsions have been found to affect the gum tissue.
- Diseases: Diabetes, cancers, HIV, leukemia and other disease that suppress the immune system tend to affect the integrity of the gum and hence predisposes one to gum swelling.
- Hormonal Changes: It has been found that there is an increase in sensitivity of the gums due to the hormone level changes in women during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Also in women that use birth control pills. This increases the chances of developing gingivitis.
- Poor Nutrition.
- Old age.
How Do You Know If You Have Gingivitis?
Though it commonly occurs without the person noticing, gingivitis could show symptoms such as:
- Red, swollen, puffy gum.
- Soft, tender gum.
- Bleeding while brushing.
- Receding gum that makes the tooth look elongated.
- Deep pocket formation between the gum and teeth.
- Bad breath and bad taste.
- Pain while eating*
- Shifting tooth.
What Happens If You Do not Treat It?
- Periodontitis: Untreated gum swelling overtime usually results in a more severe type of gum disease that affects the underlying tissues and bones (periodontitis). This could lead to tooth loss.
- Painful pus collection (abscess) in the gum
- Infection and damage of the jaw bones linked with the tooth/teeth
- Loose tooth.
- Receding gum.
- Recurrence of gum swelling.
Gum diseases have been associated with an increased risk of developing other health conditions such as:
- Lung infections.
- Heart problems
- Low birth weight births and premature births.
How Do You Prevent Gingivitis?
- Good oral hygiene: Ensure you brush and floss properly twice daily to remove debris.
- Good Nutrition: Ensure you are eating healthy, so you can get the right nutrients for your teeth and jawbone.
- Stop cigarette smoking and other forms of tobacco.
- Regular dental checkups.
How Is It Treated?
Image Credit:Pinterest,Iamdentistry.com, mountdiary.com