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Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Detroit

The first warning sign of gingivitis could be as simple as a couple of spots of blood on your dental floss or toothbrush. This may not seem like cause for alarm, but left untreated, periodontal disease can cause the loss of permanent teeth and serious infections that could affect your overall physical health.

Our dental team offers proven solutions for diagnosing, treating and preventing gingivitis and gum disease. Our dentists will help you make healthy changes in your dental hygiene routine and perform a thorough examination of your teeth to find any early warning signs of gingivitis. This will enable you to feel more confident about the overall state of your health.

A Common Dental Issue

Gingivitis and gum disease are common among Americans, with about 47 percent of those 30 or over suffering from some form of the dental condition. In its most advanced form, gum disease is known as chronic periodontitis and creates serious health problems for those who suffer from it.

As people grow older, their risk for gum disease also grows. About 70 percent of people aged 65 or older have periodontal disease. Men are more likely to have gum disease than women, with 56 percent of them affected compared with just 38 percent of women.

Gingivitis Can Be Difficult to Diagnose at Home

Because gingivitis is the mildest and least advanced form of gum disease, the early warning signs of this condition can sometimes go unnoticed. Some of the most commonly reported signs of gum disease in the early stages are:

  • Receding gums
  • Swelling or discoloration of your gums
  • Severe bad breath that continues for more than a day
  • Pain in your gums or around the base of your teeth
  • Bleeding gums, especially after brushing or flossing
  • Changes in the configuration of your teeth, including new gaps or spaces
  • Changes in the way your teeth meet when you bite or chew
  • Loose teeth

If you or any member of your family has experienced even one of these warning signs, it is essential to schedule an appointment with our dental team to have your teeth and gums examined. Early detection and treatment of gum disease are the best ways to prevent serious problems that could include the loss of one or more permanent teeth.

Risk Factors for Gingivitis

You may be at greater risk of gingivitis and gum disease if you have a family history of them. People with certain health conditions, including diabetes and immune system disorders, may also be at higher risk for gum disease. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking tobacco or dipping snuff increase your risk of developing gum disease by promoting inflammation of the gums.
  • Frequent consumption of sugary foods and drinks can promote the development of plaque, which is a common factor in causing gingivitis. Additionally, junk food often takes the place of healthy and nutritious food that contains the vitamins necessary for healthy teeth and gums.
  • Medications that cause dry mouth are often implicated in creating favorable conditions for bacterial growth and gingivitis.

In some cases, fillings, crowns and other dental appliances can cause irritation of the gums and contribute to gingivitis and gum disease. This is more likely when fillings or other dental restorations begin to break down or deteriorate. Seeking dental care as quickly as possible for these issues can reduce your risk of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease—now and in the future.

The Problem with Plaque

Plaque is a sticky and hard-to-see substance that forms on the surface of teeth. It is primarily composed of food debris and the bacteria that feed on these materials. Unfortunately, the continual presence of plaque causes serious inflammation that can lead to an increased risk of gingivitis.

Daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to remove plaque, which also has been linked to tooth decay and cavities. If not removed promptly, plaque can harden into tartar, which creates a protective layer over bacteria and plaque. In most cases, tartar (also called calculus) can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning. At our dental practice, we can help you keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy.

Complications of Gum Disease

Severe cases of gum disease are associated with a number of serious physical ailments. For example, patients with periodontal disease are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems. They may also be prone to infections or diseases of the lungs because of the potential for inhaling the bacteria that is present in gum disease.

Men in particular are at a higher risk of cancer if they suffer from gingivitis or gum disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, men are 14 percent more likely to contract some form of cancer if they suffer from periodontal disease. Certain forms of cancer are much more common in men with gum disease:

  • Blood cancers are 30 percent more likely for men with gingivitis or periodontal disease.
  • The risk of kidney cancer is increased by 49 percent in men with gum disease.
  • Pancreatic cancer is 54 percent more likely in these patients.

Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease. The reverse is also true: patients who have gum disease are more likely to develop high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. Regular dental checkups are especially important for these patients to ensure the best prognosis for both conditions.

The Right Help for You and Your Family

Our dental practice is committed to providing you with the best care for gingivitis and other forms of gum disease. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment with our team of dental professionals. We are always here to serve you.

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