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Do your think your gums are slightly red or feel puffy? Do you experience discomfort when brushing your teeth or flossing? If you replied yes to any of those questions, you could be in the early stages of gum disease. Commonly known as gingivitis, this infection in the gums can be mild but could potentially become more serious if left untreated. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene.

Symptoms of gingivitis can include puffy or swollen gums that may bleed easily when you’re brushing or flossing. Your gums may recede and can be tender to the touch. You may even have bad breath.

Proper dental cleaning habits can help remove plaque from your teeth. Plaque is an invisible layer of bacteria that sticks to teeth. It forms when starches and sugars interact with the bacteria naturally found in the mouth. Plaque should to be removed regularly because it regrows rapidly, usually within 24 hours. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar and may require a professional dental cleaning to remove.

Other factors can increase your risk of developing gingivitis. We’ve mentioned poor cleaning habits already, but having a dry mouth or poorly fitting dental restorations may increase your chances. Medical conditions like diabetes, having a reduced immunity, certain medications or hormonal changes can elevate your risk. Smoking cigarettes, using tobacco or abusing other substances may also lead to gingivitis. Viral and fungal infections, old age and poor nutrition can increase your chances of developing gingivitis.

If left untreated, gingivitis could develop into periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss. It can also raise your chance of having a heart attack, stroke or lung disease. Women who are pregnant may be at a higher risk for having a premature baby with a lower birth weight if they have this disease.

Getting treatment quickly can usually take care of the symptoms of gingivitis and end its progression. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Reeve Abraben, or for any questions or concerns, please call us at 386.752.1342 or come by our office in Lake City, Florida. Our staff at Lake City Family Dental Center, PA, would be happy to assist you in getting back to a healthier you.