Gingivitis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Gingivitis or gingiva means inflammation of gums. It usually occurs due to bacterial growth in the oral cavity. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis- an infection that damages the bone and tissue supporting the teeth. Therefore, it can eventually lead to loss of the tooth. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. 


Maintaining oral health is an essential part of the self-care routine. If you do not keep your oral cavity clean, it can lead to infections and cavities. Also, it can be more injurious to your health if you have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Keeping your oral cavity clean is a lifelong habit. The earlier you learn the importance of keeping your oral cavity clean, the more damage you can prevent to your teeth and overall health. 


To maintain overall health, you must make a routine of frequent brushing, mouthwash, flossing, and limiting your sugar intake. The cleaner you will keep it, the more you will have to stay away from costly dental treatments and long term health issues. 


To keep your teeth and dental cavity clean, you must;


  • Brush your teeth at least twice, in the morning and at night, with a fluoride toothpaste

  • Floss your teeth at least once a day

  • Decrease the overall sugar intake

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

  • Avoid smoking

  • Drink clean and fluoridated water 

  • Visit your dentist frequently for follow up visits 


Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of gingivitis are;


  • Receding gums

  • Tender gums

  • Tender areas, swelling, or ulcers in the mouth that do not heal in a week or two

  • Bleeding from gums after flossing or brushing

  • Loose teeth

  • Receding gums

  • Swollen gums 

  • Swollen or puffy gums

  • Dusky red or dark red gums

  • Bad breath that does not go away upon brushing your teeth

  • Sensitivity to cold or hot 

  • Pain in teeth/ toothache 

  • Pain with chewing or biting

  • Swelling of the face and cheek

  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth

  • Loose teeth

  • Malocclusion- a change in how your teeth fit together when you bite


Causes 


Eating a diet rich in sugar is harmful to your oral cavity. Some of them are normal flora, while some of them are not. Sugar can become a residing place for acid-producing bacteria, which produce acid there. Eventually, that acid can destroy tooth enamel and cause oral cavities. Other causes of gingivitis are;



  • acid reflux, or heartburn

  • frequent vomiting, due to the acid

  • diabetes

  • the use of medications that reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth

  • family history, or genetics

  • certain infections, such as HIV or AIDS

  • smoking

  • poor brushing habits

  • frequent snacking on sugary foods and drinks

  • hormonal changes in women related to pregnancy, menstrual cycle, or contraceptives use

  • Vitamin C deficiency



Oral and general health 


Oral hygiene affects your general health too. If too many bacteria grow in your oral cavity, they can enter your systemic circulation too. They can also infect the lining of your heart, causing endocarditis- inflammation of the heart lining. Oral bacterial infection can also be associated with heart diseases, low birth weight, and premature birth. 


Conclusion 


Maintaining oral health is an essential part of the self-care routine. If you do not keep your oral cavity clean, it can lead to infections, gingivitis, and cavities. Also, it can be more injurious to your health if you have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.


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