- 1 What is gingivitis?
- 2 What are the main causes of gingivitis?
- 3 What are the signs and symptoms of gingivitis?
- 4 What are the complications of gingivitis?
- 5 How to diagnose gingivitis?
- 6 How is gingivitis treated?
- 7 How to prevent gingivitis?
- 8 How to treat gingivitis at home?
- 9 How to treat gingivitis at the dental office?
- 10 What is Magrabi’s advice concerning gingivitis?
What is gingivitis?
Gingiva or gum is the pink flesh surrounding your teeth and holding it near to each other. Any inflammation or infection of the gum is known as gingivitis.
What are the main causes of gingivitis?
Poor oral hygiene is the main cause of gingivitis.
When you fail to brush and clean your teeth daily, you risk the accumulation of bad bacteria, which then creates a gluey layer called the plaque!
This biofilm causes the inflammation of the gum, turning it red and painful. The longer you neglect treatment of gingivitis, the more you risk tooth loss.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy or breastfeeding may cause the gingiva to swell and inflame. Also, thyroid and adrenal glands failure may cause gingivitis.
- Medications: Some systemic and topical drugs may cause inflammation of the gingiva/gum. Especially drugs that reduce the production of saliva and causes dryness of the mouth.
- Smoking: it was one of the main factors of gingivitis and causes direct damage to your teeth, tongue, gum, and jaws. Needless to say, it gives you a nasty breath.
- Aging: gums gradually fail to protect itself against bacteria and other factors as we age. This is related to our decreased immunity and healing abilities.
- Bad diets: if you are following a very restrictive diet, or eat junk food a lot and/or have vitamin C deficiency then you are at great risk of gingivitis.
- Other diseases: gingivitis could take place a secondary symptom to other chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and viral infections.
- Teeth related problems: if you have crowded or misaligned teeth, or if you wear dentures and don’t take good care of them, you are at risk of gum inflammation.
What are the signs and symptoms of gingivitis?
You have gingivitis if your gum shows any of the following:
- Swollen or puffy.
- Colored dark red or purplish.
- Bleeds easily.
- Recedes off your tooth
Any of the mentioned symptoms could also be accompanied by:
- Bad breath.
- Unstable tooth.
- Tooth loss.
- Mouth Ulcers.
What are the complications of gingivitis?
Although a simple bleeding gum could not be alarming to everyone, neglecting gingivitis may have serious complications that include:
- Teeth loss
- Excessive bleeding
- Periodontitis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the tooth including the bones)
- Bacteremia: the bacteria responsible for gum inflammation and plaque may enter the bloodstream causing grave complications including heart and lung problems.
- Trench mouth: severe ulcerative gingivitis is a serious complication in underdeveloped countries.
How to diagnose gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a self-diagnosed disease. But visiting a dentist is mandatory to diagnose the underlying cause and detect any unseen complications and of course to offer treatment plans.
Your dentist will ask for full medical history including your oral hygiene routine, your family history, your diseases’ history and if you are on any medications.
Then he/she checks for all signs of gingivitis, looks for tooth pockets, other signs of inflammation, measures your saliva production, check for crowded teeth or misaligned ones and may let you get an X-ray of your mouth.
All these procedures are essential to detect the cause of the inflammation, its type, and its prognosis. Answering these questions properly gives your doctor a clear insight into your treatment plan.
How is gingivitis treated?
If your doctor diagnosed a primary reason for your gingivitis like diabetes, autoimmune disease or bad diet; then treating these diseases and having them under control could solve the gingival problem from its roots.
But if your gingivitis is due to aging or poor oral hygiene, then prophylactic measures are the only way to prevent gingivitis and avoid its complications.
If it is because of crowded or misaligned teeth, then visiting an orthodontist is your next step.
If you already have a complication, then your doctor will attend to it first.
Coming up, is a detailed plan for every option.
How to prevent gingivitis?
Good oral hygiene is the solution to any problem related to our mouth and teeth.
As they say: better safe than sorry. And being safe means taking good care of your teeth by brushing them twice a day, for at least 2 minutes using a soft brush and a fluoride-rich toothpaste. Make sure you clean your teeth before you go to sleep.
Flossing is an important step too, as it ensures that no food debris will crawl under your gumline. Also, mouthwashes can help prevent gingivitis.
- Changing your lifestyle: eating healthy, avoiding junk food, drinking less fizzy and sugary drinks all help in reducing the risk of gingivitis.
- Quit smoking: if you are a smoker of any type of tobacco, even e-cigarettes can help you avoid all complications of gingivitis and will keep your beloved ones near!
- Annual dental visits: don’t skip a year without visiting your dentist, even if you don’t complain of anything. With his/her expert eyes, your doctor can detect any sign of gum inflammation and will help you get rid of it before it becomes an alarming issue. This includes professional brushing of your teeth and scaling too.
- Semi-annual checkups: if you have diabetes that is causing your gums to flare up then you may also need to regularly check-up with your internist, to keep your blood sugar level under control and avoid complications.
How to treat gingivitis at home?
Treating gingivitis at home is not actual treatment, it is simple shadowing of the symptoms so they don’t bother you for now. But unfortunately, these kinds of homemade solutions may cost you your tooth later on.
Some people use cloves’ oil for the pain, others just press the gum till the bleeding stops and others visit a tattooist to recolor their gingiva pink!
How to treat gingivitis at the dental office?
As we mentioned earlier, your dentist has lots of tricks up his sleeve to treat gingivitis, one of the most effective is professional dental cleaning:
- Professional dental scaling: your dentist has all the tools to properly clean your teeth from plaque, tartar, bacteria, and others. This discourages any future buildup of plaque especially when you take good care of your oral hygiene from now on.
- Orthodontics: if you have a crowded jaw with misaligned teeth, or if you are wearing an unfitted denture or bridge then dental restoration at your orthodontist’s office is mandatory. He/she will fix any of these problems and restoring your teeth alignment and giving you healthy gums forever. (read here for more details about orthodontics).
- Collaborating with other doctors: if your gingivitis is due to another medical disease, then your dentist will collaborate with your internist/oncologist/endocrinologist to help you manage the main disease while taking care of your gum inflammation.
What is Magrabi’s advice concerning gingivitis?
Magrabi’s advice always includes visiting your dentist regularly. Even if you do not complain of any oral disease, booking annual dental visits at one of the most prominent dental centers in the Arab world and with the guidance of their highly skilled dentists; will help you prevent any oral disease and keep your teeth healthy and your smile sparkly!