Gingivitis | Gum Disease, Periodontitis Causes & Prevention

If your gums start bleeding when you floss, it's not flossing, causing the problem. Have you noticed your gums are puffy or bleeding? If so, you may be suffering from gingivitis, the beginning stages of gum disease. For this reason, you must see your dentist or periodontist for treatment. According to Dr. Matthew Darbro, DDS, a general dentist at Glendora Smiles in Glendora, Eighty percent of people in America have gum disease and should see their general dentist every six months in California.

As plaque takes up residence in your mouth, gingivitis sets in. This sticky film can harden to become tartar. With proper brushing and flossing, you can easily remove plaque. However, getting rid of tartar is difficult. A dentist or hygienist must remove it. Plaque and tartar provide a place for harmful bacteria to thrive, which causes all sorts of dental problems. Like cavities, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, and, if not treated, tooth, gum, and bone loss. The bacteria can also provoke inflammation and cause or exacerbate existing medical conditions, such as Alzheimer's, heart disease, or diabetes.

Who's At Risk for Gingivitis?

Anyone can develop gingivitis, but some factors can put you at increased risk, including:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Genetics
  • Old age
  • Poor nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
  • Dental appliances that do not fit properly or loose or crooked teeth that make it difficult to clean
  • Hormonal changes caused by birth control pills, the menstrual cycle, or pregnancy
  • Dry mouth
  • Diabetes
  • Broken or chipped fillings

Common Symptoms of Gingivitis

Concerned you may have gingivitis? Take extra care when brushing and flossing your teeth and look for any of the following symptoms:

  1. Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
  2. Halitosis or bad breath
  3. Receding gums
  4. Ulcers
  5. Inflamed, tender, or swollen gums
  6. Red or purple gums
  7. Loose teeth

How To Preven