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What causes gum disease, and how can it be treated? These are questions that anybody with aching gums or similar problems has probably thought of constantly. While people mostly take trips to the dentist to deal with their teeth, the state of one’s gums is equally important for overall oral health. That’s why it’s best to be informed on gum health and preventing problems like gum disease.

Here’s everything you need to know about treating and preventing gingivitis and gum disease:

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis develops when plaque (a film of bacteria) coats the teeth due to improper oral hygiene practices. It is essentially gum disease in its earliest stages and is characterized by red and inflamed gums. If left untreated to develop into more severe gum disease (known as periodontal disease), then it can ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Plaque and tartar build-up

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers the teeth and needs to be cleaned daily. People who do not observe this rule are at risk of developing gingivitis and gum disease.

If daily cleaning by brushing and flossing is not observed, a build-up of plaque will harden and eventually turn into tartar. Tartar can be differentiated from plaque through texture and color. It is yellow or brown and feels hard and porous. While plaque can be cleaned at home, tartar can be removed only by a dentist.

Observing proper oral hygiene

Developing proper oral hygiene habits early on can reduce the risk of developing plaque and tartar, leading to gingivitis and gum disease. It is important to instill this habit in both children and adults as plaque can build up on the teeth regardless of age.

Proper oral hygiene involves two components: brushing and flossing. While brushing may seem sufficient for your daily mouth-cleaning needs, flossing is crucial because it eliminates food and bacteria stuck between the teeth. It is in between the crevices of your teeth that plaque easily develops, which is why flossing is a must for thorough oral cleaning. This must be done twice a day, along with an antiseptic mouthwash rinse for good measure.

Other causes of gum disease

Although the buildup of plaque and tartar mainly causes gingivitis, other factors can contribute to poor oral health and lead to gum disease.


As aging occurs, the general state of health declines. Most parts of the body are weakened and need extra care and maintenance, including the gums.

Older people can have a higher risk of developing gum disease due to their age, lack of oral care routines, or medications that affect their tissues. Cleaning one’s dentures, if any, is also an important step to keep the gums healthy.


Smoking weakens the gums by altering the gum tissue itself, making it more prone to infection. Tobacco use of any kind generally increases the risk of gum disease because of this reason.

Hormonal changes

Gums are also affected by hormonal changes. Sensitive gums are likely to be experienced by pregnant women or, in some cases, women who are going through their monthly cycle.

Other factors

Factors such as genetic history, other illnesses, and chronic stress can contribute to the likelihood of gum disease.


Gum disease can be painful and expensive to treat, but it can easily be avoided with just the right preventive measures. Both brushing and flossing play a huge role in keeping your mouth clean and free of plaque and tartar, the ingredients for gingivitis and gum disease. Practicing good oral hygiene is the key to better oral health and a healthier life overall.

Getting your teeth checked regularly is a must to avoid the risk of gingivitis and gum disease. If you’re looking for affordable dentistry in Ypsilanti, we at Dental House pride ourselves in being gentle and caring dentists to ensure your dental health. We bring our commitment and experience to the practice, so your treatment is as comfortable as possible. Visit our website today to view our services!

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