If your gums are swollen, painful and irritated, and assume a darker shade of red, then you may be having periodontal disease (gum disease).
Gum disease occurs in two sequential stages: Gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and is exemplified by mild to moderate inflammation and irritation of the gums. If not detected and treated early enough, gingivitis develops into periodontitis - a more serious and painful condition. In a worst-case scenario, periodontitis destroys the entire jaw bone.
So What Causes Gingivitis?
As mentioned earlier, the leading cause of gingivitis is poor or improper dental care and hygiene. For instance, if you don't brush your teeth regularly, there will be an accumulation of bacteria, mucus and food particles (plaque) on your teeth, which causes decay over time. Additionally, unchecked plaque buildup eventually develops into tartar, which being a heavier compound, sticks to the base of the teeth, hence accelerating the onset of gingivitis.
Other key causes of gingivitis include tobacco use, untreated diabetes, and hormonal changes during pregnancy. Further, brushing or flossing aggressively may injure your gums, resulting in gingivitis. You can also develop gingivitis from:
Medications such as Dilantin and some contraceptive pills
Poorly aligned teeth
Improperly fitted braces and dentures
A genetic predisposition to gum disease from your family roots
Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
The following are the signs and symptoms that symbolize gingivitis:
Pain when chewing food