symptoms & causes of gingivitis

What is gingivitis?

It is an inflammation of the gums, usually caused by a bacterial infection. If this condition left untreated, it can lead to a more serious problem known as periodontitis. Gingivitis and periodontitis are major reasons for falling of teeth in adults.

Healthy gums are pale pink, firm and tightly fitted around the teeth. Some of the common signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
·         Swollen or puffy gums
·         Bad breath
·         Dark red or dusky red gums
·         Receding gums
·         Tender gums

One of the most common causes of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that promotes plaque buildup on teeth, leading to inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. Here’s how plaque can cause gingivitis:

·         Plaque buildup on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky, invisible film made up mainly of bacteria that forms on your teeth when sugars and starches in food come in contact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Plaque needs to be removed daily.

·         Plaque turns into tartar. Plaque buildup on your teeth can get harden under your gumline into tartar, which flourishes bacteria. Tartar makes plaque more difficult to remove, forms a protective guard for bacteria and triggers irritation around the gum line.

·         Gingiva swelled up (gingivitis). The longer the plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva, the part of your gum around the gum line of your teeth, resulting in inflammation. Over time, the gums swell up and bleed easily. This may further lead to tooth decay. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis and eventually tooth fall.

Risk factors

Gingivitis is a common gum disease, and it can develop in anyone. Factors that can increase chances of getting gingivitis are:
·         Smoking
·         Chewing tobacco
·         Lack of oral care
·         Dry mouth
·         Lack of nutrition, including deficiency of vitamin C
·         Genetics
·         Conditions that lead to lower immunity such as HIV/AIDS, leukemia or cancer treatment
·         Some drugs including phenytoin for epileptic seizures and some calcium channel blockers, used for high blood pressure, angina and other conditions
·         Hormonal changes like menstrual cycle, related to pregnancy, or use of birth control pills

·         Medication conditions such as certain fungal and viral infections. 


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