When plaque extends under the gum line, it can cause irritation and infection there. This condition is gingivitis, and can make the gums red, swollen, tender, and may even cause them to bleed. Gingivitis can be treated by brushing and flossing daily, and also by scaling performed by your dentist. But here are some of the factors you need to know that can cause gingivitis to develop in the first place.
- Poor Oral Health: This is the biggest factor because if plaque isn’t brushed or flossed off of teeth regularly, it can start to infect the gums.
- Weak Immune System: A strong immune system will help the gums fight infection. But an immune system weakened by diabetes, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, or even stress or a poor diet can increase the risk of gingivitis.
- Medication: Certain medications can factor into the development of gingivitis, including steroids, oral contraceptives, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, and some calcium channel blockers.
- Tooth Shape: Crooked teeth or even poorly fitted dental restorations make it easier to trap plaque and bacteria because they are harder to clean.
- Hormones: The hormonal changes as a result of pregnancy, menopause, or even puberty can result in gingivitis.
- Smoking: Tobacco use limits the blood supply to the gums, making them weaker and less able to fight plaque infections.