What are the risk factors and complications of gingivitis?

What are the risk factors and complications of gingivitis?

What are the risk factors and complications of gingivitis?

What are the risk factors of gingivitis?

Gingivitis can affect anyone and it is a common condition. There are a number of factors that have been identified to increase one’s chances of the infection developing, these may include:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Chewing or smoking tobacco
  • Dry mouth – Also known as xerostomia, this is a condition that results in a sticky or dry feeling in one’s mouth and is often accompanied by frequent thirst and bad breath. Not having enough saliva in the mouth to cleanse the teeth, gums and tongue and to digest food can result in bacteria building up in the mouth.
  • Old age
  • Poor nutrition
  • Crooked teeth that cannot be cleaned properly or having dental restorations (fillings) or correctional devices such as braces that are not fitted properly
  • Conditions that result in immunosuppression such as cancer treatment (chemotherapy and/or radiation) or HIV
  • Certain medications – These include phenytoin that is used for the treatment of epileptic seizures and some medications used for angina (chest pain) as well as high blood pressure.
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal changes that are related to birth control pills, pregnancy or one’s menstrual cycle
  • Medical conditions that include fungal and viral infections

What are the complications of gingivitis?

If gingivitis is left untreated it can progress and spread to the underlying bone and tissue, this is when periodontitis occurs. This is a far more severe condition that may lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.

When you suffer from chronic gingiva (gum) inflammation, this is said to be linked to a number of systemic (affecting the entire body) conditions which include diabetes, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis and coronary artery disease. There is some research that suggests the bacteria that causes periodontitis can enter the bloodstream via the gum tissue and is able to affect your lungs, heart and other body parts. However, more research is needed in order for this association to be confirmed.

Another complication of progressive gingivitis is known as trench mouth, or NUG (necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis). This form of gum disease results in infected, bleeding and painful ulcerations and gums. Trench mouth is less commonly seen in more developed nations, although it is common among developing countries inflicted with poor living standards and nutrition.

PREVIOUS What causes gingivitis?
NEXT How is gingivitis diagnosed and treated?