Symptoms and causes of gingivitis
It is possible that you are one of the many people suffering from gingivitis, it is characterized by:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Pain in the gums
- Bleeding when brushing our teeth or when using dental floss
Gingivitis in its early stages is not necessarily a serious threat, you can have a little inflammation in the gums caused by bacterial plaque and the most usual is that we all have some plaque in the areas where we cleanse worse.
Gingivitis is easily treated if we maintain good hygiene habits, especially good use of toothbrush and dental floss. However, if we ignore the symptoms and do not treat them, gingivitis will become periodontitis and then we will have a serious problem of chronic health and complex treatment.
The first sign of gingivitis is the inflammation of the gum in the area where it meets the tooth. This inflammation occurs as a result of the accumulation of food debris and bacteria that form a thin layer or “biofilm” that adheres to the surface of the teeth and is called bacterial plaque.
Gingivitis is very common in the population because in most cases we leave certain areas of the mouth without cleaning properly, either because they are difficult to reach with the brush, because we do not use dental tape or because we simply have poor oral hygiene habits. A clear evidence that this is happening is the inflammation and bleeding of the gum when we brush or use silk.
Other causes of gingivitis can be: breathing through the mouth while we sleep (oral ventilation), hormonal changes, certain diseases, some medications, malnutrition, etc.
People who sleep by breathing through their mouth may have persistent gingivitis, especially in the upper teeth. The gums dry during the night due to aeration and may become inflamed.
Hormonal changes also affect the condition of the gums. Pregnant women are especially at risk so they should be checked at the dentist more often.
Stress and diseases such as diabetes increase the risk of periodontal disease. Equally medications such as some antidepressants, sleeping pills or certain medications to treat heart problems can increase the risk of gingivitis because they reduce the flow of saliva and dry the gums. Smoking also dries the mouth and makes recovery of the gum more difficult.
Periodontal disease Distinction between gingivitis and periodontitis
The distinction between gingivitis and periodontitis is not only by the degree of progress and severity of the problem but by the tissues affected. Gingivitis affects only the gums and is reversible if we apply the necessary care. In contrast, periodontitis also affects the bone and the periodontal ligament and once we reach this state it is much more difficult to treat. Periodontitis involves a loss of bone that will be difficult to reverse. The bone is the structure that supports the teeth and when it is affected our teeth are at serious risk.
How to prevent periodontitis
At the first signs of bleeding while brushing, we should not be alarmed, but neither should we ignore what it means. It is a clear symptom that we have to improve our oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, good mouthwash, etc.) and perform periodic cleanings in the dental clinic.
It is important that the dentist or dental hygienist explain well how to perform good hygiene. Brushing the teeth more than necessary can cause gum withdrawal and wear on the neck of the tooth. Brushing too hard can damage the enamel and cause dental hypersensitivity. Brushing and flossing must be done correctly and it is vital to learn how to do it.