12 Causes for Gingivitis

Boston University Dental Gives us the Heads Up.

Although the name may seem pretty, the condition is not. Gingivitis is something you need to be aware of, and more importantly, you need to prevent it. So we turned to the Boston University Dental School to see if they would shed some lite on this oral health condition.

Gingivitis is the medical term for inflammation of the gums (gingiva), which is a mild form of gum disease, usually caused by a bacterial infection as a result of plaque formation.

And if you smoke this is certainly something you need to be even more concerned with.

There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows how smoking is not only addictive for you but it also has an additive effect on the progression of periodontal disease and can even slow the healing of gingivitis treatments and periodontal therapy.


Why Do You Do It?

Researchers at the Boston University Dental School  tell us that a major cause of gingivitis is smoking, and this is a  preventable habit.  You can reduce the gingivitis in your mouth just by quiting the tobacco habit.  Yet, despite the warnings, people still smoke, put their oral health and their life at risk because of this habit. 


The Facts with Regards to Cigarettes

Admittedly, there has been a decline in the consumption of cigarettes since the mid-1900s. However, studies still show that smoking costs more than $150 billion in medical health-care costs per year. The Boston University Dental School says that this spending is likely to increase as we see and treat more diseases, including that of gingivitis and periodontitis, as time progresses. Overall, smoking is probably the single most significant factor for periodontal diseases, and it is totally preventable.  

Pathology of smoking and periodontal disease

One reason for the increased periodontal changes in people who smoke is that it is easier for periodontal pockets to form in the smoker’s mouth compared to that of a nonsmoker. This oral environment promotes the growth of gingivitis. Plus dental professionals, have to deal with masked symptoms. The gums of smokers seem firmer on appearance because they have less blood flow in the gums than non-smokers, and it is this that can mislead the dentist. The vasoconstrictive properties of tobacco hide the gingivitis and your dentist may not see the early signs of periodontal problems. So if you smoke be sure to tell your dentist of the habit so he can identify these gum issues. 

Categories of Gingivitis

Gingivitis usually comes in one of two categories and the type you might suffer from depends on how severe you have let the problem become.


1st Type

Severe or constant gingivitis is the kind that most people get first. It is associated to poor oral hygiene. In most cases, you might even be unaware that you have this type of gingivitis, so you dont go in to the dentist until the symptoms are more noticeable. Bleeding and swelling are the first signs of the problem. If you go to the dentist during this early stage, gingivitis can be reversible.


2nd Type 

The other type of gingivitis called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, is rare in this day and age. ANUG develops in a person with a poor immune system or in someone who suffers from serious malnutrition. This is a serious type of gingivitis, and it is identifiable because it causes severe bad breath as well as other symptoms like pain and fever.

ANUG also occurs when you have a history of untreated or poorly treated gingivitis. People who smoke and have significant stress can also acquire ANUG.  

What Will Happen?

  • Gingivitis is usually a result of having long-term plaque and it occurs in people who do not make regular dental checkups and who have poor oral hygiene.
  • Injury to gums.  This can be because by hard brushing or using a hard bristled brush.
  • Gum irritation which is a result of misaligned teeth, or because of misaligned or ill fitting appliances.
  • There are also medications are linked to gingivitis. These can include contraceptive pills, phenytoin which is a medication used to control seizures, or in some cases exposure to heavy metals. 
  • Women who have hormonal changes and who go through menopause may also be more prone to the condition
  • People who have AIDS or cancer might also suffer from gingivitis
  • This can be a sign of leukemia in children. 
  • Probles with diabetes.
  • Tobacco habits.
  • Malnutrition or diseases like bulimia and anorexia can cause gingivitis.
  • Fungal infections can cause gingivitis. 
  • Teeth that do not erupt fully can cause this oral disease. .
  • Blood problems
  • Allergies


Bottom Line

The Boston university dental team suggests that when it comes down to it, the most common reason for gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. This adds bacteria to the mouth and causes plaque. To compound the issue when you do not visit the dentist regularly, the disease continues to develop and causes more serious periodontal disease.  The dentists at Boston University Dental school reiterate that the best way to avoid gingivitis is to brush adequately and floss at least once a day.

BUD reminds us that it is important to stop smoking. This bad habit tends to increase your chances of having gum disease. You should quit before oral health issues become even more significant.


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