Gingivitis – Symptoms and Risk Factors Everyone Should Know

Gingivitis - Symptoms and Risk FactorsPeriodontal disease, a disorder involving bacterial infection of the gums, is very prevalent in the United States today.  It is present when inflammation and infection destroy the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets.  Gingivitis, the mildest form of the periodontal disease, is an inflammatory process confined to the gums. Plaque-induced gingivitis is the most common form of the disease.

Inflammation of the gums also can occur from injury or trauma caused by overly vigorous brushing or flossing of the teeth. Systemic conditions, such as diabetes, pregnancy, and general illness, can place your gums at risk for gingivitis.

Symptoms of gingivitis include the following:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
  • Shiny appearance to gums
  • Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush or floss even with gentle brushing and flossing)
  • Gums that are tender when touched,but otherwise painless
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth

Common risk factors with gingivitis include the following:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Systemic diseases, such as diabetes and leukemia
  • Certain medications including steroids, some anti-epilepsy and cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
  • Pregnancy
  • Decreased immunity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Defective fillings

More than 75% of the population experiences gingivitis at some level.  It can be caused by a lack of effective oral hygiene or by the hormonal changes during puberty or early adulthood.  Once it develops, gingivitis may persist or recur throughout life.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Archilletti if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or have underlining risk factor.

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