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Alabama Family Dentistry | Gingivitis: Top 7 reasons to fight with all your might

Gingivitis: Top 7 reasons to fight with all your might

medical illustration showing four stages of gingivitis | Alabama Family Dentistry

Gingivitis: Top 7 reasons to fight with all your might

Posted by Alabama Family Dentistry in Dental Conditions 15 Jul 2017

Many specialists agree; one of the most overlooked oral health problems is gingivitis. This is because it often goes unnoticed for a long time. However, there are early symptoms of an underlying dental issue including swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath (halitosis) and gum recession. Nonetheless, untreated gingivitis can have long-term effects on your health.

Early Stages of Gingivitis

Rendering to WebMD, the beginning stages of gingivitis are comprised of a variety of symptoms such as inflammation of the gums from bacteria in plaque buildup, bleeding of the gums, sore gums and red or purplish colored gums. Although the gums may be sensitive, your teeth are firmly in their sockets. At this stage, there is no permanent bone or tissue damage.

However, researchers have found possible links between gum disease like gingivitis and other serious health conditions. For instance, the bacteria in the mouth that enters the bloodstream is generally harmless, especially people with a healthy immune system. But with certain conditions, these microorganisms are linked to dental issues and health problems.

Tooth Loss

Gingivitis is the early stages of gum disease (periodontal disease or periodontitis). If treated early, the damage can often be reversed. But with advanced stages, there is a more serious oral health issue often includes surgery. As well, there can be bone and tooth loss. In fact, periodontitis is considered one of the leading causes of tooth loss.


Diabetes is often a risk factor for periodontal disease. In fact, periodontitis can sometimes make diabetes worse. Studies show a link between diabetes (type 1 and 2) and gum disease. This is because diabetes the blood vessels thicken making it difficult to deliver nutrients to the mouth and remove bacteria. Also, diabetes increases the level of interleukins, which can cause inflammation.

Heart Disease

Although not proven, many experts agree that there seems to be a link between gum disease and heart disease. One theory concludes that periodontal disease causes bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This bacterium is said to attach itself to fatty deposits in the heart blood vessels. In result, the condition can cause blood clots and lead to heart attacks.


Endocarditis is infection of the endocardium (inner lining of your heart). It generally takes place when bacteria from other parts of your body (like your mouth) spread through the bloodstream and latch onto damaged areas of the heart. Left untreated, the heart valves can be damaged or destroyed leading to life threatening conditions. Treatment involves surgery, medication or both.

Prescription Medications

Enlargement of the gums in the mouth know as gingival overgrowth is sometimes a side effect of certain prescription medications such as cyclosporine (Sandimmune), phenytoin (Dilantin) and nifedipine (Procardia). In addition, there have been reports of jawbone decay (osteonecrosis) in patients who take oral bisphosphonate drugs like alendronate (Fosamax). Symptoms of jawbone decay are pain or swelling in the jaw, exposed jawbone, poor healing of the gums, loose teeth and gum infections.

Various Oral Health Issues

If you develop gingivitis and the plaque is not removed, the oral health condition can get worse and lead to gum disease. At this point, further health issues may develop:

• Loose teeth
• Receding gums
• Frequent gum abscesses (collections of pus that is painful)
• Increasing damage or loss of the jaw bone that holds the sockets of the teeth (alveolar bone)
• Cumulative damage to the tissue that connects the tooth to the socket (periodontal ligament)

Other Health Concerns

Numerous health conditions may lead to gingivitis and gum disease including a lowered immune system, leukemia, AIDS and conceivably certain autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosus, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Alabama Family Dentistry

If you suspect that you have gingivitis or any type of gum disease, it is best to schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. At Alabama Family Dentistry we can help you with any concerns or questions that you may have about oral health care and prevention. We are devoted in using cutting-edge technology in dental care, restoration, cosmetic dentistry and prevention. Plus you can be assured that you will get the best and most advanced treatment available. In fact, Alabama Family Dentistry has been providing exceptional dental care since 1998.

For your convenience, Alabama Family Dentistry has four locations in the Birmingham area – Gardendale Family Dentistry, Acton Road Family Dentistry, Sumitron Family Dentistry and Warrior Family Dentistry.

Note: This article is not intended to take the place of professional dental advice. Please contact a specialist if you have any concerns or questions.

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