Gum disease, which is a condition that is also frequently referred to as gingivitis, is the inflammation of tissues that support and surround the teeth and it is commonly a result of bad dental hygiene. Throughout the United States, a large number of people frequently suffer from gum disease, and gingivitis is regarded to be a highly common condition, although it may vary significantly in terms of severity. This condition is characterized by swollen, red gums that may bleed easily during flossing and brushing. Other symptoms may include bad breath and discomfort in the gums.

Learning what causes gum disease can give individuals a better chance of understanding how to fight back against gingivitis, and avoid it in the future.

Plaque and What Causes Gum Disease:

Typically, a wide range of factors can cause gum disease, but most experts agree that bad oral hygiene is the most common cause. Failing to properly brush your teeth on a regular basis can cause plaque to build up on your teeth, allowing for the emergence of gum disease.

In any person, the mouth is filled with bacteria that combine with smaller food particles and saliva in order to build a sticky film that is known as plaque. Plaque builds up around the gums and teeth. Whenever you eat foods and drink beverages that are high in carbohydrates, the bacteria in plaque also turn those carbohydrates into the energy that they need, while producing acid that begins to break down the surface of the tooth and promotes decay. Similarly, the bacteria in plaque can irritate the gums, making them sore and inflamed.

Usually, plaque is easy to remove through flossing or brushing, but it can harden over time, forming a substance called tartar that sticks much more firmly to teeth, and can only be removed by a dentist. When it comes to understanding what causes gum disease, it's crucial to know the value of good oral hygiene in preventing plaque and tartar build up.

The Risk Factors:

Aside from poor oral hygiene, there are a number of other things that can increase an individual's risk of developing problems regarding the gums. These can include your age, smoking, a family history of gum disease, a lifelong condition of diabetes, AIDS, certain cancer treatments like chemotherapy, stress, and malnutrition.

Some other common risk factors for gingivitis may include the habit of chewing tobacco, the use of certain medications, crooked teeth that do not allow for proper brushing or flossing, broken fillings, genetic factors, and dental appliances that do not fit correctly.

If you feel that you might be at risk of gum disease, the best thing you can do is improve your oral hygiene practices as much as possible, then contact your dentist for an appointment. At your examination, your dentist will then probe your gums for signs of inflammation, and check for evidence of bone loss. You should also speak to your dentist about the risk factors that make you more susceptible to gum disease, as well as any symptoms you may have experienced. Doing this can help to prompt a quick diagnosis.