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Dental Associates of Northern Virginia - Potomac
2010 Opitz Boulevard, # D, Woodbridge, VA 22191

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Gingivitis: Symptoms and Causes in Woodbridge, VA

What Symptoms Will Indicate the Presence of Gingivitis?

Gingivitis often is asymptomatic, unfortunately, so you may have the disease for a while without being aware of its presence. If you notice minor bleeding when you brush and floss or if you seem to have bad breath more frequently, then you may have the early signs of gingivitis. Continue reading to learn more about the prevention, treatment, and symptoms of this insidious disease.

Is Periodontal Disease Inevitable—or Preventable?

Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases in adults. It’s a serious disease that can have devastating consequences, yet it’s one of the easiest to prevent. According to the CDC, almost half of adults who are over 30 have some stage of gingival disease, it’s more common among men, and the incidence increases as you age. In fact, in the 65-and-older age group, more than 70 percent have gingival disease even though it’s easily preventable. It’s vital to learn the early signs of this disease so you can prevent its progression. If not caught early, gingivitis can progress to chronic periodontitis and you could lose your teeth and jeopardize the structure of your jawbone and gums. At that point, reconstructive surgery might be the only option for restoring the functionality of your teeth and jaw.

How Will I Recognize the Symptoms of Gingivitis?

Since gingival disease is often asymptomatic and there’s no pain associated with it, you may be unaware that you have it until it has progressed to a more serious stage. Healthy gums should be a light pink and fit snugly against your teeth. If your gums are any color other than light pink, and if they are pulling away from your teeth, then you may have gingivitis. You shouldn’t experience pain or discomfort in your gums and they shouldn’t bleed when you brush or floss.

If you have any or all of the following symptoms, then be sure to schedule a dental appointment without delay.

  • New or increased gaps in your tooth spacing
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Bleeding during flossing or brushing
  • Red or purple gums
  • Loosened teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Recurrent bad breath
  • Swollen, sensitive gums

What Can Cause Gingivitis?

Inadequate oral hygiene is the fastest route to developing gingival disease. When you eat foods, particularly those that are high in carbohydrates and sugars, they combine with the bacteria in your mouth and form a sticky substance called plaque, which coats your teeth and gums. It continuously multiplies, so it’s vital to remove it through daily brushing and flossing. If it’s not removed, it turns into a hard substance called tartar, which forms a protective covering over the plaque, enabling it to continue to multiply. Tartar, also called calculus, is extremely hard and can only be removed by a professional teeth cleaning, so if you have plaque, you should make a dental appointment without delay. Left untreated, plaque and tartar will increase the inflammation in the gingival tissues and you’ll have bleeding, swelling, and decay. Eventually, you could lose the structure of your jaw and your teeth, so don’t procrastinate.

Are There Any Risk Factors for Developing Periodontal Disease?

Even though you may have good oral hygiene, there are risk factors that can cause gingivitis to develop, such as:

  • Any type of reconstructive work, fillings or dental appliances that don’t fit correctly or are defective
  • AIDS/HIV, diabetes or any other health condition that lowers your immunity
  • Genetic tendencies
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Poor nutrition, especially if your diet lacks vitamin C
  • Prescription or over-the-counter medications that cause a dry mouth
  • Tobacco, both smoking or chewing it

Will My Physical Health Be Adversely Impacted by Gum Disease?

In addition to tooth loss and damage to your gums and jawbone, gingival disease can negatively impact your major organs. It can also contribute to these serious diseases:

  • Cancer: The American Academy of Periodontology reports that men who had periodontal disease had a 54 percent higher rate of developing pancreatic cancer, a 49 percent higher risk of kidney cancer, and a 30 percent higher likelihood of developing blood cancers.
  • Cardiac diseases: Those who have gingival disease have a higher incidence of cardiac disease than those who don’t.
  • Diabetes: Uncontrolled blood glucose levels in diabetics encourage the onset of gingivitis. This is in addition to the kidney disease, neural damage, and loss of vision that often occur as a result of diabetes.
  • Pulmonary disease: The bacteria in the mouth can be transmitted to the lungs by means of the normal breathing process, which can cause lung diseases, according to the AAP.
  • Stroke: Those with gingival disease were found to have a higher incidence of stroke due to arterial blockage to the brain than those who had other types of strokes.

Which Methods Work Best for Treating Gum Disease?

The best method for preventing gingival disease is to practice good oral hygiene, which includes regular dental checkups, particularly if you have additional risk factors for developing the disease. Your dentist can recommend the optimal brushing and flossing schedule for you, so be sure to follow their recommendation.

If you haven’t had a dental checkup in a while, then now is a good time to schedule one. Call our office today or use our convenient online booking tool to schedule a dental exam and get started on ensuring your good oral health.

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Dental Associates of Northern Virginia - Potomac

2010 Opitz Boulevard, # D, Woodbridge, VA 22191

(703) 595-2887