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May 02, 2019  |  Airdrie Springs Dental Blogs


your gums bleed when you brush or floss? Is it sore or outright painful when
you eat? Do you have bad breath that mouthwash doesn’t cover up? Are your gums
red or purple and swollen? Do they feel squishy, like a gummy bear? Do your
gums look like they are receding? It’s very possible you have gingivitis.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of tissues
around the teeth (also known as your gums or gingiva). When it first starts,
you may not even notice it. It is the very early development stage of "Periodontitis". The gums
become red and painfully swollen at this stage. Eventually it gets to the point
where is causes bleeding when you floss or even brush your teeth. It can also cause
sleepless nights with an aching mouth.

How to know if you have gingivitis?

These are the symptoms of gingivitis that will
help you know if you have one:

  • Swollen and Red Gums
  • Frequent Gum Bleeding
  • Receding Gums
  • Halitosis or Bad Breath
  • Fever (Early Stage)
  • Malaise
  • Pain
  • Bleeding on Tooth Brushing

What are some causes of gingivitis?

Poor oral hygiene is a primary cause of gingivitis. Bacteria build up around your gum line, causing a sticky plaque to form on your teeth. If you don’t remove it, it hardens into tartar which in turn irritates the gums, causing them to inflame. This is why adequate brushing and flossing is required!

Did you know that regular smokers get gingivitis more often than non-smokers? Harmful
substances such as nicotine and tar from cigarettes (or chewing tobacco) get
introduced into the body. It should be no surprise that these can cause stains
on teeth, halitosis, gum problems, oral thrush, cancers, cavities or tooth
decay, etc. Nicotine also interferes with how our body responds to bacteria as
it impairs thebody’simmune functions.

Hormone changes during puberty, menopause and the menstrual cycle can also cause
sensitivity in the gingiva.

Pregnancy is another possible cause. As stated by PubMed.gov, ovarian hormones
such as estrogen and progesterone rise at this stage causing
pregnant women to be more likely to experience gingivitis. It is said that
gingivitis generally occurs to 60-75%
of pregnant women, but if they practice good oral hygiene in the beginning of
pregnancy, the rate will only be 0.3%.

is also a possible cause. Lack of good nutrition
can affect one's health causing various health problems including gingivitis. Vitamin
C deficiency is linked to gum disease (think scurvy).

Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
leads to a higher risk of
gingivitis. Having HIV is a serious matter, it reduces the immune system’s
effectiveness which affects all the body systems. The mouth will be a good
indication if you have an immunodeficiency through observing it. At an early
stage of HIV, several symptoms will show up especially in your mouth.

  • Dryness of Mouth & Cavities
  • Oral lesions
  • Thrush
  • Gum Disease/Gingivitis
  • Hairy Leukoplakia (A condition causing
    white lesions, or patches, on the tongue)
  • Periodontitis
  • Oral Cancer

These symptoms might give you a sign whether
you have existing HIV or not. But, the most effective way in knowing such is to
get tested and you're off to go. Getting tested is far more reliable than
doubting yourself.

Medications may also lead to gingivitis. Drugs like anticonvulsants, calcium
channel blockers
, and immunosuppressants
can cause gingival overgrowth. Make sure that the next time you visit your
dentist, you mention ALL medications and supplements you are (or were) taking.

Diabetics have to be even more careful. If you’re diabetic and you accidentally brushed your teeth hard, you could cause your gums to become inflamed or swollen. Because you have high levels of blood glucose, it can take significantly longer for your gingivitis to heal. This is because  decreased blood circulation makes it hard for the body to repair wounds. If you are diabetic and suspect gingivitis, you should seek medical assistance right away.

Stress is linked to suppressing the immune system which will affect the
general functions in the body which can lead to gum disease.

How do you treat gingivitis?

  • The cure starts within you. Always
    make to brush your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and at night. Be
    smart in choosing toothbrush as their textures could differ.
  • Soft bristled toothbrush is highly
    recommended. When brushing your teeth, don't scrub too hard as it will irritate
    the swollen gums and may cause bleeding.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3
  • Flossing is also a good way to
    deep clean your teeth and gum line.
  • Stop smoking. This is a very
    important advice for all smokers, your oral health is not just in danger, you
    are prone to lung cancer and other health risks.

Good dental hygiene is necessary

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is critical.
It sounds like such a simple thing, but it can be one of the easiest things to
help ensure good health.

As part of proper oral hygiene, visiting your
dentist every 6 – 9 months is highly advisable. If you have multiple factors
affecting your risk of gingivitis, it may be recommended that you come more

If you have any of the symptoms listed above or feel like something has changed with how your mouth feels, come in and see us. A check-up and cleaning may be all it takes but we’ll be able to put you on the path to proper oral care.

Call us at 587 317 4161 or contact us here for more information or to book an appointment today.

If you would like to find out about choosing a dentist, download 'THE SMART CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO How to Make Sure You Choose the Right Dentist' here.