Gum disease, also known as gingivitis is an inflammatory condition of the gum and tissues that surround the teeth. This leads to the poor health dentition. This disease is common and might present with different severities in people.  The gum generally appears inflamed and red in color. Also, the gum tends to bleed easily, especially when the individuals brushes or flosses his or her teeth. The most prevalent form of gingivitis is usually a reaction to the development of bacterial plaques on the teeth. This is referred to as plaque-induced gingivitis. Some studies have pointed out that periodontitis usually comes before gingivitis. There are some factors that could protect us from having gingivitis. Some of the factors include keeping a good dental hygiene. In cases where gingivitis is not well managed, the disease could progress to periodontitis. This is a more serious disease than gingivitis. Periodontitis can result in the damage of the tissues surrounding the teeth, and also cause the breakdown of the bone around the teeth. Eventually, periodontitis can lead to the loss of the tooth.

What Are The Differences Between Gingivitis And Periodontitis?

As said earlier, gingivitis usually occurs before periodontitis. However, not all cases of gingivitis would lead to periodontitis. Gingivitis mostly occurs as a result of the deposition of plaques on the gums. This causes the gums to undergo inflammation, which makes it swollen. Also, the gums become prone to bleeding, especially when the affected individual is brushing his toothbrush or flossing his teeth. All the processes that occur in gingivitis don’t lead to the damage or the loss of the tooth. There are no irreversible changes in gingivitis. However, this disease might progress to periodontitis if it’s left untreated. There is usually some small spaces between the teeth and the gum. These spaces would accommodate debris, remnants of chewed food. These products if left in the mouth for a long time usually becomes infected with bacteria. The body immune system would come to the body’s defense by fighting the plaque that is formed. As a result of the attack of the body’s immune system on the bacteria plaque, the teeth, and the gum begins to wear out. It might become so severe that the teeth and the gum might become entirely destroyed. Gum disease has become the most prevalent and leading cause of teeth loss in adults.

What Causes Gum Disease?

The development and deposition of plaque on the gums is the most prevalent cause of gum disease.  However, there are other factors that could lead to the development of gingivitis. Some of these factors include;

  1. Hormones: Alteration in the level of hormones predisposes the gums to infections, and also makes the gums more sensitive. Examples of conditions that could lead to changes in hormone levels include pregnancy, menopause, menstruation and puberty.
  2. Medical ailments: There are some diseases that increase the risk of having gum disease. Some of this disease include HIV and cancer. These diseases usually weaken the immune system. In addition, diabetes mellitus affects the way the body utilizes glucose. Individuals with this kind of infections and diseases are more predisposed to having gum diseases and even periodontitis.
  3. Drugs: There are some drugs that affect our dental health. Some of these medications reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth. The saliva keeps the teeth moist, and also protects the teeth and gum. Medications such as anticonvulsants can induce the unusual growth of gum tissues.
  4. Poor hygiene: People that have a poor dental hygiene are prone to having gingivitis. Brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis would protect you from having gum and teeth related problems. However, not maintaining a good dental hygiene would expose you to different kinds of dental diseases.
  5. Lifestyle: Some people have some habits that could predispose them to have gum diseases and teeth problems. Examples of this type of practice include smoking. In addition, using hard brushes can also increase the chance of developing gingivitis.
  6. Genetics: Although, this is rare. Some people have genes that would predispose them to have weak teeth and gums. This kind of people has higher risks of having gum disease.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Gum Disease?

Gum disease is also known as gingivitis may present with no symptoms initially, however, patients start presenting as the disease progresses. Sometimes, only a few symptoms are presented by patients, even in the advanced stage of the disease. The symptoms of the gum disease are usually subtle. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of gum disease;

  1. Inflammation of the gum: The gum undergoes inflammation in gum diseases. This might lead to a change in color of the gum. The gum becomes red, tender and swollen.
  2. Increased sensitivity: The gum becomes very sensitive, especially to brushing and flossing. Also, the teeth might bleed when food that is hard inconsistency is being consumed.
  3. Bad breath: Patients might have bad breath also known as halitosis. In addition, they might also develop bad taste, even when they consume delicious meals.
  4. The recession of the gums: The gum tends to withdraw from the base of the teeth. This affects the smile of the affected individual. This kind of patients causes gummy smile if left untreated for a long time.
  5. Formation of space between the teeth and the gums
  6. Weakened teeth: This occurs because of the action of the body immune system on the gum tissues and teeth. The immune system attacks the bacterial plaque on the gum tissues and the teeth, destroying them in the process.

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

The primary focus of the treatment is the removal of the bacterial plaque. The deposition of bacterial plaque on the gum tissues and the teeth are the most common cause of gingivitis. Some of the methods used in removing plaques include mouthwashes, flossing. In addition, the use of powered toothbrushes has proved to be more effective in decreasing the development of plaques, as compared to the use of manual brushes.


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