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Over 75 percent of American adults suffer from gingivitis, according to a report by the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission last spring, yet many Americans are unaware that they have the disease. Here are some of the factors that contribute to gum disease and ways that you can prevent it.
Gingivitis, or gum disease results in irritation and swelling of the gums, according to the Mayo Clinic. Part of the reason why it often goes unnoticed is the fact that it often starts out mildly. However, if untreated, gingivitis can lead to serious consequences such as tooth loss. Additionally, worsened gum disease may result in periodontitis, which in turn may be linked to increased risk of cardiovascular problems.
There are a number of factors that can potentially contribute to the development of gingivitis, according to the commission's report, which was reprinted in The New York Times. For example, lifestyle factors such as smoking, stress and diet all affect the likelihood of developing gingivitis.
The biggest contributor to the development of gingivitis, however, is poor oral hygiene. While brushing regularly will largely combat gingivitis, it is important that people schedule regular visits to a dentist to assess their condition. Those without dental insurance can still get the care they need with the help of a dental plan, which helps cover the costs of basic dental procedures such as cleanings.
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