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According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, many adults in the US are suffering from gum disease.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. They become swollen and red and can bleed easily. This mild gum disease, however, can still be remedied by brushing and flossing daily to eliminate plaque and bacteria. Antibacterial mouthwash and/or regular cleaning by the dentist can also help treat gingivitis.
Periodontitis, on the other hand, is a more serious gum disease caused by bacteria growing on the teeth's surfaces. This disease affects the tissues that surround and hold the teeth in its place. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to loss of teeth.
The primary cause of gum diseases is bad oral hygiene. However, recent studies reveal that there are several other factors that are causing both gingivitis and periodontitis. For instance, smoking significantly increases the risk of gum disease. Illnesses like diabetes, cancer or AIDS also affect gum health and increase the risk of further infection or inflammation.
Hormonal changes in girls during their menstrual period or pregnancy also affect the health condition of their gums. During these times, their gums are sensitive, becoming more susceptible to gingivitis.
Saliva plays a huge part in reducing the risk of gum disease. It has a protective effect of flushing out the bacteria that cause these gum diseases. Without saliva, a dry mouth can easily accumulate bacteria. There are medications that significantly reduce the amount of saliva produced by our mouth. People prone to gum disease should steer away from these medications.