Gingivitis is a form of gum disease. Like many other diseases that can affect the body, the root cause of gum disease is an infection caused by bacteria. In gingivitis, the plaque that forms on your teeth and gums contains bacteria. These bacteria produce toxic waste products that irritate your gums. The longer plaque remains on your teeth and gums, the more likely you are to experience gingivitis symptoms. And the longer you have gingivitis, the more likely it will progress to periodontitis. That’s why it’s so important to get it under control early.
Other factors that contribute to gingivitis
While plaque bacteria is the direct cause of gingivitis, many other issues can play a part in making your gums more susceptible to gum disease.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco is one of the greatest risk factors associated with gum disease. Electronic cigarettes and vaporizers are relatively new and studies need to be conducted to assess their risk, but ask your dentist or hygienist how these products may impact gum health.
- Any factor that compromises your immune system can promote gingivitis.
o Stress can make it more difficult for your body to fight infections like gum disease
o Poor nutrition deprives the body of important nutrients that give it the ability to fight infections
o Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV also impair the body’s ability to fight infections
- Hormonal changes in women during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause make gums more sensitive and more prone to inflammation
- Medications for many conditions can affect oral health. Tell your dentist or hygienist if you take any prescription or over-the-counter medications
Many of these circumstances are beyond a person’s control, so it’s even more important to know how to treat gum disease and prevent gum disease in these situations.
- Keep your immune system healthy by reducing stress and taking good care of your body
- If gum disease runs in your family, be sure to pay extra attention to your oral care routine
- Visit your dentist and hygienist twice a year so that he or she can monitor any signs of gingivitis before they become severe
- Practice the best possible at-home treatment and prevention of gingivitis
Knowing what causes gingivitis is half the battle. Now that you are familiar with what causes gingivitis, you can take the proper precautions to protect your gums from disease and inflammation.
Start with anti-gingivitis solutions like Crest® PRO-HEALTH® Advanced Toothpaste and Crest® PRO-HEALTH® Multi-Protection Mouthwash that help eliminate plaque bacteria—the root cause of gingivitis.