Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes redness and swelling of the gingiva, the part of the gum around the patient’s teeth. In severe cases, it may lead to periodontitis (serious gum disease) and tooth loss. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor dental care, but hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menstrual cycle, smoking, and certain types of diseases (diabetes, leukemia) and medicines, may also lead to gum disease.
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
The main symptoms of gingivitis are red, swollen and bleeding gums. It can be mild, moderate or severe. When it leads to periodontitis, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small pockets in which the bacteria start to accumulate, weakening the bone supporting of the teeth.
What causes gingivitis?
Bad oral hygiene and consuming high carbohydrate foods (such as soft drinks, milk, candy, cake) can cause dental plaque formation, that leads to inflammation and dental caries (tooth decay).
Dental plaque is a mass of bacteria or biofilm (often brown or yellow pale) that can be found on the front of the teeth, between the teeth, behind teeth, on chewing surfaces, along with the gumline.
The inflammation itself can develop due to illness, hormonal changes, smoking and genetic predisposition.
The most common causes of gingivitis:
- Tooth decay
- Certain types of diseases (leukemia, diabetes)
- Hormonal changes
- Poor oral hygiene, improper brushing techniques
- Certain types of medicines
- Genetic factors
Treatment of gingivitis
After the diagnosis has been made, the dentist removes the calculus or tartar, that is a form of hardened dental plaque. Then, regular dental care with the proper brushing techniques and flossing can increase the effectiveness of the treatment. If inflammation is caused by the use of certain medicines, consultation with a specialist is recommended for prescribing substitute medicines.
Untreated inflammation can cause periodontitis, which is a severe inflammation.
How to prevent gingivitis?
Brushing with the proper technique at least twice a day – morning and evening – and flossing (remove plaque from those areas, what the toothbrush doesn’t completely reach) is essential. Regular dental check-ups, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption also help to prevent gingivitis effectively.