Gingivitis is a common oral condition caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. This plaque contains harmful bacteria that causes inflammation along the gum lines, which can lead to sensitivity, redness, and bleeding. While gingivitis itself is not a particularly dangerous condition, if left untreated, it can lead to a more severe form of gum disease known as periodontitis. If you’re still not convinced this is a condition you should be worried about, here are five reasons to take gingivitis seriously.
- It can cause tooth loss.
If left untreated, gingivitis may progress into full-blown periodontitis, which can eat away at your gum line until your teeth become loose or, in extreme cases, fall out completely. Once your teeth start feeling looser than they should, there’s not much you can do except for surgery. It’s best to treat this problem early with good oral hygiene instead of letting it progress to this much more severe stage.
- It can cause persistent bad breath.
While bad breath (known officially as halitosis) isn’t as severe a problem as tooth loss, it can still prove to be an embarrassing condition in a number of social situations. As gingivitis worsens, the pockets of bacteria grow larger while becoming harder to reach, and unfortunately, they emit a less-than-pleasant smell. This unpleasant odor is unlikely to go away on its own until you have your problem professionally addressed.
- It puts you at a higher risk for other diseases.
While conditions such as dementia and heart disease may seem unrelated to gingivitis, there is mounting evidence that these diseases are linked. Researchers cannot yet say exactly what it is about gingivitis that puts patients at a higher risk for these other conditions, but the current explanation posits that the bacteria from your mouth are able to make their way into your bloodstream, where they can then travel to other organs.
- It’s less expensive to treat than periodontitis.
Treating gingivitis is typically not a costly affair. In most cases, regular flossing and brushing will do the trick. However, if you allow gingivitis to progress into periodontitis, the treatment costs skyrocket. Periodontitis will normally require one or more surgeries to treat, and even if they’re covered by insurance, they will still require recovery time, which often translates into lost wages or other unexpected expenses.