Gingivitis: causes, treatment, prevention
Gingivitis is gum inflammation caused by dental plaque. It starts out painless, so it often goes unnoticed and isn’t detected or treated for a long time. What is gingivitis? How does it affect your mouth? What treatments are available? Take a closer look at gingivitis with this article from CDH.
The inside skinny on gingivitis
- Gingivitis is the most common form of gum disease,
- Its symptoms are swollen gums and bleeding when you brush your teeth,
- It is usually caused by inadequate tooth care, but other culprits include medications and pregnancy,
- The treatment is simple: a good tooth care routine and a cleaning by a dental hygienist,
- You will need to see a dental care provider since natural remedies can’t cure gingivitis or keep your symptoms from getting worse.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is gum inflammation that is mainly caused by biofilm, better known as dental plaque. It is diagnosed based on several symptoms:
- gum bleeding when you brush,
- a change in appearance,
- or gum swelling and sensitivity.
Gingivitis, which gets worse over time, is the most common form of gum disease. In severe cases, your teeth can become loose.
What causes gingivitis?
Gingivitis can be caused by inadequate tooth care, systemic medical conditions, hormonal changes like those you experience during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, and medication side effects.
What treatments are available for gingivitis?
If you spot the symptoms of gingivitis, you should:
- Schedule an appointment with your dentist or dental hygienist,
- They will carefully examine your mouth to detect gingivitis and any gum pockets, cavities, or other dental problems,
- After the check-up, they will provide you with a personalized action plan and treatment that meets your specific needs, including a cleaning to remove dental plaque,
- While you wait for your appointment, you can start to eliminate the root causes of gum disease by brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day for 3 minutes each time,
- Flossing daily,
- Quitting smoking (tobacco damages your gums),
- Controlling your diabetes, if you have uncontrolled diabetes,
- And using a mouthwash, if recommended by your dentist.
How can you prevent gingivitis?
Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate tooth care. You can prevent it with a few simple habits:
- brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day for 3 minutes each time,
- eating a balanced diet and limiting your refined sugar and soda intake,
- making sure you don’t have any vitamin or oligo-element deficiencies,
- seeing your dental hygienist regularly, at least 1 or 2 times a year,
- overlapping teeth can also increase your risk of gingivitis, so you may need a realignment.
I read that you can use essential oils as a natural treatment for gingivitis. Do they really work?
Inadequate tooth care is one of the main causes of gingivitis, so the first step of any treatment plan is brushing thoroughly.
You will also need to see a dental professional to treat gingivitis. Natural remedies like sea-buckthorn, geranium, olive, sage, and papaya leaf can’t replace professional dental care. Without appropriate care, your symptoms can get worse.
What is plasma cell gingivitis?
Plasma cell gingivitis is a rare disease. Its symptoms are red, swollen gums. It may also cause swelling in your tongue and lips.
What is necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis?
Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is a necrotizing disease that attacks the soft tissue in your gums. It is a true dental emergency that it most cases affects your entire body.
Its symptoms are:
- foul breath,
- painful gums,
- malaise (a general sense of being unwell).
Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is treated with a professional dental cleaning, hydrogen peroxide mouthwash, and antibiotics. And as always, good tooth care is key!
What is pregnancy gingivitis?
The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy often cause gingivitis. 60% to 70% of women experience gingivitis during pregnancy.
That’s why it’s essential to maintain a great tooth care routine and see your dental hygienist for personalized care if your gums are red and swollen.