Gingivitis: Causes, Symptoms & Remedies

Gingivitis refers the inflammation of gums. It’s a mild form of gum disease, usually caused by bacteria, and characterized by swelling, redness, and irritation of your gingiva (gum tissue).

If left untreated, this condition can develop into something worse or unbearable...

It can result in receding gums, transit to a severe condition known as periodontitis, and even cause tooth loss!

In this post, I’ll take you through some important details you need to know about gingivitis-from its causes, symptoms, and remedies.

Let’s go…

Gingivitis- Causes

As I’ve already mentioned in the opening part, gingivitis usually arises from poor oral hygiene- which promotes the formation of plaque on your teeth.

In turn, plaque leads to gingivitis as explained below:

Plaque formation

Plaque refers to a sticky film that forms on your teeth. Usually composed of bacteria, this film is invisible and usually forms when sugar and starch in the foods/drinks you take interact with the bacteria in your mouth.

Because they form easily and quickly, you’ll have to remove them daily (via brushing and flossing).

Plaque develops into tartar

If you allow plaque to stay on your teeth for an extended period of time, it’ll harden under the gum line and become tartar (calculus) - a collection of bacteria. Calculus is quite tricky to remove, and acts as a protective shield for the bacteria, resulting in gum irritations.

Gingiva inflammation

This is the onset of gingivitis…as the plaque and tarter continue to accumulate on your teeth, they’ll keep causing irritations to your gum (gingiva, to be precise), resulting in inflammation and redness of the same.

In some cases, this can cause your gums to bleed or cause tooth decay as well.

Additional factors responsible for gingivitis:

Other than plaque and tartar, there are additional factors that might increase your risk of getting gingivitis. These include:

  • Poor oral health practices
  • Smoking/chewing tobacco
  • Dry mouth
  • Old age
  • Poor nutrition, and vitamin C deficiency
  • Weak immunity and conditions that contribute to it- like leukemia, HIV/AIDS, etc.
  • Medical conditions- e.g., certain fungal and viral infections
  • Hormonal changes resulting from birth pills, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, etc.
  • Crooked teeth that prove difficult to clean or dental restorations that fail to fit properly
  • Certain medications- e.g., phenytoin for epileptic seizures, anti-angina, calcium channel blockers, and high blood pressure medications

Gingivitis- Symptoms

In a healthy state, your gums ought to be firm, with a pale pink color, and tightly fitted around your skin.

In case you experience the following changes on your gums, you could be suffering from gingivitis:

  • Swollen, puffy gums
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath that remains even after brushing
  • Tender gums
  • Easy gum bleeding when you brush or floss
  • Dark red or dusky red gums
  • Loose teeth

If you notice any of the signs and symptoms I’ve mentioned, I advise you to visit your dentist ASAP. Taking quick action will prevent the disease from causing scary damages to your gums and progressing into periodontitis.

Gingivitis- Remedies

After visiting your dentist, they’ll examine your gums to confirm that indeed you’re suffering from gingivitis.

After confirming this condition, the doctor will give you the appropriate treatment to help reverse the conditions.

The treatments will involve the following:

  • The dentist will remove the plaque and tartar through a process known as scaling. Keep in mind that this might prove uncomfortable, especially if your gums are highly sensitive or your plaque, tartar buildup is extensive.
  • The dentist will also advise you on how to take proper care of your teeth at home to prevent gingivitis from occurring again
  • They might even do follow up treatment procedures with more cleaning sessions where necessary

In addition to the medical treatment, you’d also want to take up the following home remedies for gingivitis:

  • Ensure you brush your teeth at least twice every day (I suggest that you use an electric toothbrush as it effectively removes plaque and tartar than the traditions toothbrush)
  • Floss your teeth at least once every day (use a water flosser for the best plaque removal results)
  • Regularly rinse your mouth using an antiseptic mouthwash

Final Verdict

Gingivitis refers to the inflammation of your gums. This is mainly caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. There are also other risk factors that contribute to this issue.

If you suspect any of the signs/symptoms of gingivitis as listed in this post, it’s important to seek medical help immediately to prevent complications of this dental infection.

Practicing good oral health at home can go a long way in keeping your gums safe from this infection in the first place.

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