Gingivitis: The subtle dental condition that can cost you your teeth

Anyone can get this condition, but some practices increase the risk of losing one’s teeth.

It is quite normal to develop sensitive gum that lead to redness, swelling or bleeding. However, if left unattended, this dental condition known as gingivitis could result in serious problems leading to tooth loss. Read on to learn more about this condition and how to avoid it.

Symptoms of gingivitis

According to the Mount Sinai Hospital, gingivitis is one of the early signs of periodontal disease which destroys the tissues holding the teeth together, through inflammation and infection. The resulting irritation causes the part of your gum around the base of your teeth known as the gingiva to swell, sometimes turning red.

Many people have some amount of gingivitis. It often develops during puberty or early adulthood because of hormonal changes. It may last a long time or come back often, depending on the health of your teeth and gums.

Apart from irritation, redness and swelling gums, other symptoms of gingivitis include bad breath, receding and tender gums and gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth or floss.

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Getty/ RichLegg

Causes

The main cause of gingivitis and its resultant periodontal disease is bad oral hygiene such as not brushing your teeth or flossing regularly, at least twice daily, Mayo Clinic says. Other risk factors are smoking, certain medication including some birth control, hormonal change during pregnancy and uncontrolled diabetes.

Regular dental checks are helpful in preventing or keeping this condition under control. According to Mayo Clinic:

If you notice any signs and symptoms of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist. The sooner you seek care, the better your chances of reversing damage from gingivitis and preventing its progression to periodontitis.

Some studies have also linked poor oral health to cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart failure.

Dental hygiene: How long should you be brushing your teeth? Dental hygiene: How long should you be brushing your teeth?