Gingivitis is an inflammation in the gingiva or the gums that surround the teeth. It is the most common type of periodontal disease that affects a lot of people today. In its chronic state, gingivitis may cause your gums to recede and ultimately, it may lead to periodontitis.
Gingival inflammation is categorized according to the level of severity. It may be anywhere from a mild to severe case of gingivitis to a more common but severe case of necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis.
Inflammation is an important component of gingivitis. It happens when the body’s natural bacteria-fighting cells are led to a bacteria-infested area of the gums, and this is responsible for most of the gingivitis symptoms. Thus, it can be said that bacteria can cause gum inflammation.
While bacteria are naturally found in the human body, and usually offer protective benefits, they can also be detrimental. The mouth of a person provides the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. It has everything the microorganism needs to survive – moist, warm environment, and constant supply of food. Without a healthy immune system, the growth of bacteria would be difficult to control. It will ultimately overwhelm the body’s natural defenses.
Once this happens, an infection will begin. Gingivitis is a type of gum infection that develops after bacteria have successfully invaded the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth. As previously mentioned, the severity of the infection may range from mild to severe. It may likewise indicate the onset of a more serious systemic disease.
Causes and Risk Factors of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is definitely a gum infection caused by bacteria. However, the exact reason for the development of gingivitis is still under thorough study, although several theories have been offered.
In order to develop, gingivitis requires the accumulation of plaque in the areas around the teeth. The bacteria contained in large numbers in the plaque are believed to cause gingivitis. However, plaque alone cannot be singled out as the culprit for gingivitis since most people have plaque deposits on their teeth, but not all of them have gingivitis.
In some cases, a person may be afflicted with an underlying condition or illness that makes the immune system prone to gingivitis. Diabetics and people with immune system disorders like HIV are less capable of protecting the gums from bacterial invasion. Smokers and substance abusers are likewise susceptible to developing gingivitis.
Hormonal changes that happen during a woman’s pregnancy also make the gums easy targets for bacterial infection. Steroid therapy and puberty also have the same effect. Ill-fitting dentures, dental work that results in altered tooth anatomy, and other local factors are also believed to be contributory factors.
Gingival enlargement can also be caused by medications for hypertension, seizures, and organ transplants.