If you’ve been slacking on your at home oral care, you may want to read this. Not having a daily and thorough oral care routine can lead to severe, and costly, dental problems. Problems like gingivitis.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed.
Both dental plaque and tartar are filled with harmful bacteria, and if they aren’t removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.
There are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
- Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean.
- Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack.
- Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
- Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion.
- Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
- Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
- Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal.
- Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease(Source: medicinenet.com)
Of course with proper care one can prevent gingivitis entirely! The preventative care is simple. Of course brushing and flossing twice a day is of utmost importance. Regular visits to Dr. Bartz for a check up and cleanings. A well balanced diet helps maintain oral health as well as bone health. Finally, do not smoke or use any form of tobacco.
For more information on oral health and gingivitis, contact Dr. Bartz at (708) 430-4440 or visit our website at bartzandbartzdental.com.
Dr. Bartz also welcomes patients from Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank and Palos Hills.