Risk factors for Gingivitis and Gum Disease


Dealing with inflamed gums is never a pleasant experience, and it can be indicator for periodontal disease. In many cases patients with inflamed gums exhibit signs of gingivitis, which is the earliest and mildest form of gum disease. With early intervention and adherence to good oral hygiene practices, it can usually be reversed. Happy Teeth Dental have a wealth of experience in treating gum disease, and in this post we’ll be highlighting some common risk factors and simple tips to reducing your risk.

How do you get gum disease?

Gum disease occurs due to the build up of plaque around your mouth and teeth, which causes the gums to become inflamed and swollen. It is important to brush your teeth twice daily and floss regularly to minimise the amount of plaque in your mouth.

Plaque is a clear, sticky and bacteria rich film which coats the teeth – especially after eating foods high in carbohydrates and sugars. It is normal to have some level of plaque in your mouth, and by maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine you will be clearing away plaque and maintaining a healthy level of oral bacteria. If you are neglectful of oral hygiene, plaque will begin to accumulate and harden around your gum line before turning into calculus (also known as tartar). When this occurs, you will need to visit your dentist for a professional clean at your earliest convenience. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis which is a much more serious infection and may require tooth extraction.

What are the symptoms of gingivitis?

It is not always easy to recognise the early signs of gingivitis as the symptoms can be very mild, therefore you should try to schedule regular dentist visits to ensure any issues can be identified and treated early. Healthy gum tissue is pink in colour and securely attached to teeth. If you notice any of the following, it is possible you may have gingivitis:

  • Swollen/Puffy Gums
  • Gums bleeding after brushing/flossing
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Dark pink colour gums

Risk Factors for Gingivitis

Brushing and flossing on a consistent basis will go a long way in minimising your risk of developing gingivitis, as it will help to remove stuck plaque before it turns into tartar. The following factors can increase your likelihood of developing gingivitis:

  • Tobacco use – smoking and chewing tobacco coats your teeth in a sticky tar like substance, and it can also cause your gums to recede.
  • Poor Diet – A healthy diet is important for your overall wellbeing, and this includes your oral health. Starchy foods like bread and pasta should be enjoyed only occasionally, as the sugars are a rich food source for bacteria. Fresh hard vegetables such as carrots can be particularly beneficial for plaque removal, and they are also highly nutritious.
  • Genetics – Those with a family history of gingivitis are at an elevated risk.
  • Diabetes – People with diabetes have a reduced ability to ward off oral bacteria.
  • Dry Mouth – This can be caused due to dehydration or prescription medication.

Treatment of Gingivitis

The best method for preventing gingivitis progressing into periodontitis is to brush for at least two minutes, twice daily. You should also floss at least once daily, and you may wish to follow up with an alcohol-free mouthwash. It is also important to visit Happy Teeth Dental every 6 to 12 months for a routine check-up and professional clean.

If signs of gingivitis or advanced gum disease are observed, your dentist will commence a treatment plan centred around removing tartar and controlling infection. This is usually straightforward involving deep cleaning (scaling and tartar removal beneath the gum line), root planing and potentially the use of oral antibiotics or antibiotic gel. In more serious cases, tooth extraction and more extensive treatments may be required.

Suffering from inflamed gums? Visit Happy Teeth Dental Today

You should never ignore inflamed gums and hope the problem will go away on its own. Happy Teeth Dental are committed to helping patients look and feel their best, so if you are worried you may have gingivitis please get in touch today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon at our Palmyra dental clinic.