Gingivitis is characterized by inflammation of the gums. This typically occurs due to the bacterial film that build up on the teeth. Remember that this is a non-destructive form of periodontal disease. If left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis which is more serious and eventually lead to teeth loss.
An individual with gingivitis usually have reddened and puffy gums and there is likely bleeding when brushing the teeth. Generally, gingivitis settles with proper oral hygiene such as longer and regular brushing as well as flossing. In some cases, an antiseptic mouthwash along with proper tooth brushing and flossing is also beneficial.
For mild cases of gingivitis, most are not aware that they have the condition since the symptoms are mild. Nevertheless, the condition should be taken seriously and dealt with right away.
What are the indications?
- Bright red or purplish gums
- Tender gums that are sometimes painful to the touch
- Easy bleeding of the gums while brushing or flossing the teeth
- Soft gums
- Inflamed gums
- Receding gums
What are the causes?
The usual cause of gingivitis is the buildup of bacterial plaque between and around the teeth. This can trigger an immune response that eventually leads to the destruction of the gingival tissue and trigger additional complications including tooth loss.
Dental plaque is a biofilm that naturally builds up on the teeth. It is formed by colonizing bacteria that stick to the smooth surface of the teeth. It can cause tooth decay and even periodontal issues such as gingivitis.
If plaque is not completely removed, it leads to the buildup of calculus (tartar) at the base of the teeth, close to the gums. Take note that both plaque and tartar irritate the gums.
Other causes of gingivitis include the following:
- Certain diseases such as diabetes, cancer and HIV
- Hormonal changes during menopause, puberty and pregnancy
- Certain medications especially those that reduce the flow of saliva
- Family history of gingivitis
If diagnosed early and treatment is started, gingivitis can be effectively reversed. The treatment involves care by a dental professional and follow-up measures that can be done at home.
- Removal of plaque and tartar which is a process called scaling.
- The dental professional explains the importance of oral hygiene and how to properly brush the teeth along with flossing.
- Periodic follow-up appointments with additional cleaning if needed.
- Fixing the teeth so that oral hygiene can be done efficiently.
- Brush the teeth at least 2 times in a day
- Using an electric toothbrush can work effectively in cleaning the teeth
- Floss the teeth at least once a day
- Regularly rinse the mouth using an antiseptic mouthwash.