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Are your gums slightly red or puffy? Do you experience discomfort when you brush your teeth or floss? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in the early stages of gum disease. Commonly known as gingivitis, this infection in the gums may begin being mild but can become more serious if left untreated. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor dental hygiene.

Symptoms may include:
-Swollen or puffy gums
-Receding or tender gums
-Gums may bleed easily when flossing or brushing
-Bad breath

Proper oral hygiene removes plaque from your teeth. Plaque is mostly bacteria that forms an invisible sticky layer on your teeth when starches and sugars interact with the bacteria naturally found in your mouth. Plaque needs to be removed regularly because it reforms quickly, usually within 24 hours, and if not removed, it hardens into tartar and may require a professional dental cleaning to remove.

Certain factors that may increase your risk for developing gingivitis are:
-Poor dental cleaning habits
-Cigarette, tobacco or other substance abuse
-Dry mouth
-Diabetes, decreased immunity or hormonal changes
-Certain viral or fungal infections
-Poorly fitting dental restorations
-Certain medications
-Older age
-Poor nutrition

If left untreated, gingivitis could turn into periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss. It may also increase your risk of heart disease, stroke or lung disease. Women who are pregnant and have periodontitis may be at a higher risk for a premature birth and the baby could have a lower birth weight.

Prompt treatment can usually alleviate the symptoms of gingivitis and stop its progression. If you live in the Savannah, GA, area, and have any questions or concerns, please call us at 912-354-9541 to schedule an appointment. Our dentist will be happy to help you get back to a healthier you.