Prevention 17 July, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.
Gingivitis is caused by plaque deposits that build up over time on the teeth and are not removed.
Plaque is a sticky substance consisting of bacteria, mucus and food debris that builds up on the surface of the teeth; it is also a leading cause of cavities. If it is not removed it turns into tartar (or calculus) that gets trapped at the base of the tooth causing irritation and inflammation. Symptoms of this include red, shiny gums or reddish-purple gums that bleed or are sensitive to touch, as well as mouth sores.
Gingivitis is considered a form of periodontal disease. At an advanced stage, it destroys the tissues that support the teeth; this can include the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets (the alveolar process).
According to the website MedlinePlus, the following factors increase your risk for gingivitis:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Pregnancy (hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums)
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Misaligned teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges, and crowns)
- The use of certain medicines and some birth control pills
- It can also develop during puberty or during the first stages of early adulthood as a result of hormonal changes.
Related article: Prevent tooth loss with good oral hygiene (article in Spanish)