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To help you maintain dental health, we explain gingivitis’ causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment. If you’re experiencing symptoms or want to learn how to prevent this disease, this article will help.

1. What is Gingivitis?

Millions of people worldwide suffer from it. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), nearly half those 30 and older have gingivitis.

Simply speaking, gingivitis is gum irritation and non-destructive periodontal disease can advance to periodontitis, which can cause tooth loss if left untreated. Plaque between and around teeth causes gingivitis.

It is a periodontal disease, an inflammation and infection affecting the gums, periodontal ligaments, and tooth sockets. This condition begins with gingivitis or gum inflammation.

The term “gingivitis” comes from the Greek words “gingiva,” meaning gum tissues, and “itis,” meaning inflammation. It is inflammation of the gum tissues around the teeth.

Plaque, a sticky, whitish, or pale yellow film on teeth, causes the disease. This plaque contains bacteria, mucous, food, and other items. Without proper cleaning, plaque bacteria release toxins that irritate gums, causing gingivitis.

Red, puffy, or sore gums that bleed readily when brushing or flossing are typical symptoms of gingivitis. Breath or taste problems are also prevalent. Early on, the condition may be painless and unnoticed. It can develop into periodontitis and tooth loss if left untreated.

Poor dental hygiene, smoking or chewing tobacco, old age, dry mouth, poor diet, hormonal changes (during pregnancy or menstruation), diabetes, and some drugs can raise the risk of gingivitis.


2. What are gingivitis symptoms?

2.1. One of the first indicators of it is swollen or puffy gums. Plaque bacteria induce inflammation. Red gums may indicate irritation.

2.2. Gingivitis is indicated by bleeding gums while brushing or flossing. During dental hygiene, healthy gums should not bleed. Don’t overlook this symptom—see a dentist.

2.3. Tender Gums. It can cause gum tenderness; gum inflammation and infection cause this soreness.

2.4. Persistent foul breath or unpleasant taste may indicate the disease. The gingival bacteria can create toxins that stink.

2.5. If your teeth seem longer than usual, your gums may be receding, a sign of gingivitis. Since gum recession exposes the tooth root, sensitivity increases.

2.6. Teeth Fitting Changes. This symptom may be less evident. You may have it if your teeth are loose or fit differently when you bite.

Remember that it can be painless. Thus, regular dental exams are essential for early identification and treatment. Gingivitis can be prevented by brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and obtaining regular dental cleanings.

Remember that gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and can proceed to periodontitis and tooth loss if left untreated. Therefore, take charge of your dental health—prevention is better than cure.

3. What causes gingivitis?

3.1. Poor oral hygiene

It is the leading cause of gingivitis. Plaque forms on teeth and gums when you don’t brush and floss. A sticky film of germs is termed plaque. Not removing plaque quickly can lead to tartar, which is harder to clean and irritates gums.

3.2. Smoking and Tobacco Use

Smoking and tobacco use significantly increase gingivitis risk. These drugs disrupt gum tissue cell activity, making gingivitis more likely.

3.3. Hormonal changes

It notably during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and menstruation, might make gums more sensitive to gingivitis.

3.4. Diabetes

Diabetes increases the risk of infections, especially gum disease. Diabetes patients must control blood sugar and practice appropriate oral hygiene.

3.5. Medications

Some medications reduce saliva flow, which protects teeth and gums. Gingivitis can result from medicines like phenytoin and nifedipine, which cause aberrant gum tissue growth.

3.6. Individuals

It may be genetically predisposed to gum disease. You should take extra oral hygiene precautions if your family has gingivitis or periodontitis.

3.7. Diseases

Some illnesses can damage gums. HIV and cancer can weaken the immune system, increasing gingivitis risk.

3.8. Poor diet

Poor diet, especially vitamin C deficiency, can cause gum disease. A balanced diet boosts overall health and delivers mouth-healthy nutrients.

4. Gingivitis prevention, how?

4.1. Good oral hygiene

It is the best that disease prevention. This includes brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities and improve tooth enamel. Daily flossing eliminates plaque and food particles your toothbrush cannot reach.

4.2. Regular Dental Checkups

Even with good oral hygiene, plaque can solidify into tartar, which only a dentist can remove. Professional cleanings and checkups every six months can prevent this buildup and keep your gums healthy.

4.3. Healthy diet

Diet can avoid it. A balanced diet rich in vitamins C and E helps boost your immune system and combat bacterial infections, including gum disease. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks can also prevent plaque.

4.4. Stop smoking

Smoking increases gum disease risk. Tobacco smoke chemicals reduce saliva flow, making microorganisms stick to teeth and gums easier. Quitting smoking improves oral and general health.

4.5. Limit Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol makes your mouth dry, limiting saliva production, which cleans your teeth and gums. Avoiding alcohol or using alcohol-free mouthwash can help preserve this natural that disease resistance.

4.6. Stress Management

High stress can lower your immune system, making fighting it more challenging. Yoga, meditation, or stress management can maintain a healthy immune system.

4.7. Select a Soft Brush

Soft toothbrushes protect gums and tooth enamel. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles fray.

Oral hygiene must be consistent to prevent from the disease. By practicing these actions daily, you can significantly lower your gingivitis risk. See your dentist for red, puffy, or bleeding gums that indicate gingivitis. Treatment early helps stop the disease and protect your dental health.

5. How to treat gingivitis?

5.1. Expert Dental Care

You must see your dentist to diagnose and treat it. It is usually treated professionally with scaling and deep cleaning. This deep-cleaning method removes plaque and calculus from above and below the gumline, down to the bottom of your dentist or periodontist’s calculated pockets.

In addition, your dentist may suggest its treatments. An antimicrobial mouthwash, antiseptic chip, or antibiotic micro-spheres (tiny particles that deliver medication slowly over time) can control bacteria and reduce periodontal pockets, or an enzyme suppressant can block gum tissue-breaking enzymes.

5.2. Care at Home

Home care is as important as professional dental care in treating and preventing it. Good oral hygiene requires brushing twice a day and flossing every day. Use a mouthwash to decrease plaque between your teeth.

Lifestyle adjustments can treat and prevent the disease in addition to dental hygiene. These include quitting smoking, eating well, and controlling stress, which can cause gum disease.

5.3. Follow-up appointments

Your dentist may suggest regular checkups after your initial treatment. These are necessary to monitor gum healing and clean teeth professionally.

Read More: What is Periodontiscs?

Managed by Doctor TRAN NGOC TU, Ph.D. in Dentistry, Tokyo University, Japan

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