Normal gum tissue is typically firm and has a more pinkish color tone. When the gums are irritated or inflamed, they can appear red and swollen.
Healthy gum tissue is essential to the health of our teeth, as it helps to both support the teeth and protect the roots of the teeth from exposure to hot and cold foods, which can cause painful sensitivity.
What could cause healthy gum tissue to suddenly become swollen and potentially lead to gum disease? Let’s take a closer look at why your gums could be unhappy and need professional treatment to get back to normal!
Bacteria and Plaque
Bacteria and plaque are the primary culprits in gum inflammation and disease. In fact, plaque is actually composed of bacteria and food debris left in the mouth. You know plaque as the sticky coating on your teeth if you haven’t brushed for a few hours.
Plaque can build up on teeth, particularly in areas we miss when brushing. When left unchecked, plaque can begin to irritate the gumline, which can lead to a potential infection. Plaque can eventually form in tartar, a hard substance that will need to be removed by your dentist .
Genetics Can Contribute
If your parents have a history of gum disease, it’s more likely that you’ll have gum inflammation or disease at some point in your life.
Why is this? Research shows that certain genes are linked to the development of gum disease . By understanding your risk, you can take precautionary measures to prevent problems with your gums.
And remember, just because your family has a history of gum disease doesn’t mean you’ll get it—but it’s important to be aware of your risk!
Other Factors That Can Impact Your Risk
You’ll be more at risk for gum inflammation and disease if you smoke or use tobacco products. You may also be more at risk if you’re pregnant, as this can cause gums to swell due to different hormones and increased blood flow in the body. For this reason, those who take oral contraceptives may be at more risk as well.
Crooked teeth, which can be difficult to clean, and compromised immunity can all impact your risk for inflamed gum tissue. Even being under a lot of stress—which can impact your immune system—can increase your risk for certain problems with your gums .
How to Help Prevent Gum Problems
Fortunately, keeping your gums healthy is simpler than you think. By regularly cleaning your teeth—brushing twice daily and flossing once daily—you can help prevent gum disease.
Combine your home care habits with regular checkups with your dentist, and you can help stop gum disease before it even has a chance to start!