Introduction – What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a swelling of the gums due to infection from a long-term build-up of bacterial plaque. This build-up can loosen your teeth and cause them to fall out. It can also damage your gum tissue and cause bleeding after you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth.
If gingivitis is left untreated, you run the risk of developing a more dangerous condition called periodontitis. This disease can cause severe pus-filled abscesses to form in your mouth, making it incredibly painful to ingest and swallow food or drinks. The infection can spread to the bone tissue, nerves, and other areas of the body, leading to serious health complications.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
The symptoms of Gingivitis are easy to observe; they include:
- Redness and swelling in your gums
- Bleeding from your gums following flossing or teeth-brushing
- Loose teeth that you can move around with your fingers
- Bad breath
- Newly developed misalignment between your top and bottom teeth when you bite down
- Your teeth become more sensitive to hot, cold, and sugary foods and drinks
What Causes Gingivitis?
The bacteria in the layer of plaque on your teeth consume sugar from whatever you’re ingesting. The byproduct is a type of acid that destroys teeth enamel, leading to decay and increased sensitivity.
Plaque eventually hardens into tartar along your gum line, irritating gum tissue and forcing its way between the roots of your teeth and your gums. This can cause your teeth to loosen and your gums to swell and bleed.
Treatments and Medications Available for Gingivitis
There are several effective treatments available for gingivitis and gum-related problems, including:
- Deep-clean scaling of your teeth
- Laser surgery to remove all the hardened plaque
- Root planing to smooth the tooth root and allow the gum to reattach
- New skin grafts for your gum pockets
Following plaque removal, you may also need medication as part of your treatment for gum disease, including:
- Antiseptic and antibacterial mouthwashes
- Antibiotics for treating swollen gums
- Doxycycline, to help treat the bacterial infection in your mouth
- Chlorhexidine chips, which your dentist can insert into your periodontal pocket and kill the harmful bacteria inside
Be sure to talk to your dentist in St Albans about the possible side-effects and risks associated with any medication before starting your course.
How Can Gingivitis be Prevented?
- Brushing and Flossing Regularly
Ensure you’re brushing your teeth correctly and regularly to help remove harmful plaque and prevent the build-up of tartar along the gum line.
Here are some tips for effective teeth-brushing:
- Brush your teeth twice daily, in the morning and before bed
- Get an electric toothbrush as they can get around the backs of your teeth better than manual toothbrushes
- Use fluoride toothpaste to remineralise your teeth and prevent tooth decay
- Hold your toothbrush at 45 degrees to your gums to get the best angle for plaque removal
- Clean both sides of each tooth in your mouth.
2. Rinse with Salt Water
Salt water can help to get rid of the harmful bacteria that build up in your mouth. When you rinse, you displace a lot of plaque, getting rid of it all when you spit the water out.
Salt water solutions also help disinfect your mouth and are simple to make. Mix half a teaspoon of table salt into 8 oz. of warm water and stir until it dissolves.
3. Use Natural Mouthwash
Rinsing with natural mouthwash is another effective way to retain healthy teeth and gums. Natural mouthwash includes essential oils from plants like cinnamon and lavender. These oils help treat inflammation and bacterial infection in your mouth.
It’s best to rinse your mouth after you’ve eaten so the oils can help clean out the new sugars and bacteria that can get stuck under your teeth. Don’t rinse right after you’ve brushed your teeth because the mouthwash will wash away the toothpaste fluoride.
Make sure you get therapeutic mouthwash instead of cosmetic mouthwash. A therapeutic solution contains active ingredients that can help to:
- Prevent tooth decay
- Prevent plaque build-up
- Get rid of food particles
4. Avoid Smoking & Chewing Tobacco
Smoking weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to disease, especially within your respiratory system and around your mouth and throat. Chewing tobacco can also lead to:
- Stained and discoloured teeth
- Bad breath
- Mouth and pancreatic cancers
5. Remember to Visit a Dentist
Visit your dentist twice a year for a dental checkup. During these appointments, dental hygienists scale and clean your teeth, getting rid of tartar around your gum line.
A dentist will also be able to tell you if you’re at risk of developing gingivitis and can help talk you through different suitable treatments to prevent the disease.