Do you have gingivitis? You might not know if you do, but there’s a good chance even if you don’t show any symptoms. If you’ve noticed some swelling in your gums, or some tenderness and bleeding when you brush and floss, chances are that you have some form of gingivitis.
Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease; in fact, an estimated 50% of Americans suffer from a form of gingivitis. Gingivitis starts to take hold when you don’t take care of your teeth properly, i.e. brushing and flossing. This leads to bacteria beginning to form, leading to plaque and tartar, then periodontitis and potential gum loss – and at that point, you’ll need to come see your Fuquay-Varina dentist.
While you may be aware of the disease and its potential effects, here are some facts about gingivitis you might not know:
1. You Can Get Gingivitis from Kissing
Many people think that gingivitis can only take root from simply not taking care of your teeth properly. While this is certainly true, studies have shown that the bacteria are actually passed from person to person.
This could happen by sharing eating utensils, borrowing someone else’s toothbrush, and yes, even kissing. Once these bacteria transfer over to the new mouth and a regimen of poor oral hygiene is in effect, the new bacteria can take hold.
2. You Have a Higher Risk if Your Family Has It
Gum disease has been shown to be affected by heredity. An estimated 30% of the population is genetically at risk for gum disease – even if they are vigilant about dental care. Considering that you are more likely to contact gingivitis bacteria from your family makes you at an even higher risk.
3. You’re at a Lower Risk for Gingivitis if You Eat More Dairy
It’s a little unclear why dairy intake contributes to lower rates of gum disease. Some studies indicate that it’s the healthy eating habits of people who regularly eat or drink milk products like yogurt, and others indicate that it’s the lactic acid present in fermented milk products like yogurt that help. Either way, drink milk and eat cheese! You’ll more likely be in the percentile that doesn’t get gingivitis if you consume dairy.
4. Women are Higher Risk for Gingivitis
Unfortunately, it’s true ladies: you’re at a higher risk for gingivitis. The connection lies with puberty and hormones – the ebb and flow of hormones over the month can make your gums more sensitive and more prone to irritation. In fact, one of the symptoms of approaching menstruation is bleeding gums.
5. Pregnancy Gingivitis is a Thing
Oral care is paramount when you’re pregnant, as you are very susceptible to swollen gums. As the hormonal changes that occur in your body due to the pregnancy start, they can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to fight bacteria properly. Blood flow is increased to the gums, making them more irritable and sensitive, and make it easier for bacteria and plaque to take hold.
6. Overbrushing Can Make It Worse
You could be rubbing and scrubbing too hard when you brush – and that could contribute to your gum disease. Essentially, by overbrushing you could be stressing out your gums and making them bleed, and thus making them more susceptible to bacteria and plaque. Plaque is actually soft enough that you could wipe it away with a rag if you could physically reach those areas with one. Ensure that your toothbrush is soft and that you’re applying only just enough pressure to feel the bristles on your gums.
7. Gingivitis is Probably Causing Your Bad Breath
This one may seem simple – bad oral hygiene and not brushing would definitely lead to bad breath, right? The continued buildup of plaque and tartar are actually the factors to blame when it comes to bad breath, and considering that you can be brushing regularly and still be at risk for gingivitis means that that bad, metallic taste in your mouth could be gingivitis.
Contact Hamby Family Dental Center in Fuquay-Varina
A little worried about whether you have gingivitis? Contact your Fuquay-Varina dentists, Hamby Family Dental Center, for an appointment to check out your gums today by calling (919) 552-2431 or fill out our appointment form.