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(734) 329-5284

Gentle Dental of Westland
825 S Wayne Road, Westland, MI 48186

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Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Westland, MI

If you occasionally see blood on your dental floss or toothbrush after your daily oral hygiene routine, it could be a sign of a serious dental condition called gingivitis. The earliest and least dangerous form of gum disease, gingivitis often produces no pain or discomfort during its initial stage. When left untreated, however, gingivitis typically progresses to periodontal disease, causing irritation, swelling, receding gums and potentially losing one or more permanent teeth.

At our dental practice, we can determine if you are showing signs of gingivitis. If you are, we will create a treatment plan to provide you with the greatest possible protection against the progression of this serious dental problem.

Nearly Everyone Is at Risk

Data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicate that about half of all adults in the United States over the age of 30 suffer from some type of gum disease. In adults over 65, the percentage goes up to more than 70 percent. Men are more likely to contract gingivitis and gum disease, with a 56 percent chance versus a 38 percent chance for women.

Untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontal disease, which could result in significant damage to the tissue and bone that support your teeth. In chronic periodontitis, the loss of bone and gum tissue can be severe, causing the loss of one or multiple teeth. Taking steps to control periodontal disease during the early stages is the best way to keep your smile bright and your teeth and gums healthy.

How Gingivitis Starts

Plaque is the most common initial cause of gingivitis and is composed of bacteria that live in your mouth and use the foods you eat as fuel to multiply. Sugary and starchy foods and drinks are dangerous sources of food for these bacteria, which form plaque’s sticky and almost invisible film on teeth and gums. This can cause irritation and inflammation of sensitive gum tissue. The inflammation and swelling is usually the way in which gingivitis attacks your gum tissues and the underlying support structures for your teeth.

Know the Symptoms of Gingivitis

In many cases, the very early stages of gingivitis may not have any noticeable symptoms at all. Some of our patients report that their first clue that they might be developing gum disease was a spot of blood on their toothbrush or floss during their daily dental care. Other symptoms of gingivitis and periodontal disease include:

  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Changes in the color of your gums or the spacing of your teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • A sensation of pain or sensitivity when chewing

If you notice any of these early warning signs, contact our office right away to schedule an examination and begin the treatment process. This is the best course of action for protecting your teeth and gums from further damage.

Prevention Starts with Good Dental Hygiene

One of the most effective ways to prevent gingivitis and gum disease is through regular brushing and flossing. Removing plaque from your teeth can reduce the risk of inflammation associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease. If not removed completely by brushing and flossing, plaque can build up and form tartar or calculus. This material must be removed during professional teeth cleaning visits to protect your teeth from the dangers of gingivitis and gum disease.

Factors That Increase Your Risk of Gum Disease

You or members of your family may have a higher risk for developing gum disease if you have certain medical conditions or engage in unhealthy activities, such as:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco causes irritation of the gums that can lead to gingivitis and the potential for more serious forms of gum disease.
  • Illnesses that affect your immune system can also increase the risk of gingivitis. These include diabetes, HIV and AIDS and certain types of cancer.
  • A family history of periodontal disease can also increase your risk of developing gingivitis.
  • Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, menstruation, and using oral birth control also boost the chance of developing gingivitis.
  • Medical conditions and medications that cause dry mouth can increase the risk of gingivitis.
  • Poor nutritional habits and vitamin deficiencies are identified with a higher potential for developing gingivitis and periodontal disease.
  • Poor fit of dentures and bridges will sometimes cause irritation and inflammation that can contribute to the development of gum disease.

Added Risks of Gum Disease

Along with the danger of losing teeth because of the breakdown of supportive gum tissue and bone, patients with periodontal disease are also at higher risk for these illnesses:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Pancreatic, kidney and blood cancers
  • Respiratory disease
  • Diabetes

Seeking treatment for gingivitis as early as possible typically will allow you to have the best outcome and help to lower your risk of contracting these serious illnesses and medical conditions. Our team of dental experts will work with you to determine the best course of action to protect both your dental health and your physical health.

The Best Dental Care for You and Your Family

Our team will provide you with excellent dental care. We will design a prevention plan to reduce your risk of developing gingivitis and gum disease. We also can provide effective treatment options to stop the progression of periodontal disease. We are here to serve your dental care needs, so give us a call today to schedule your first appointment.

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Gentle Dental of Westland

825 S Wayne Road, Westland, MI 48186

(734) 329-5284