How To Get Rid Of Gingivitis?

gingivitis

Gingivitis is the painful inflammation of the gums or gingiva in response to the baterial plaque and is therefore called gingivitis (gingiva is a scientific name for gums).

The gums are the soft tissue that envolope your teeth and the bone supporting the root of the teeth. It forms a protective covering over the roots and bone against disease-causing bacteria. Moreover, it’s the supportive appartaus of the teeth that keeps them in place.

Most of the adult population have varying degrees of gingivitis and the condition can affect all ages.

What causes gingivitis?

Gum disease is usually caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and along the gum line. Plaque starts to form within 24 hours if the mouth is not cleaned.

Plaque is an invisible, sticky film containing bacteria. This biofilm irritates the gum tissue and the body’s immune system initiates an inflammatory response against it. The signs and symptoms of gingivitis which you see in the mouth indiactes an ongoing inflammatory process.

The plaque hardens and becomes tartar if it is not removed within 72 hours, which is harder to remove. Tartar traps even more bacteria, worsening gingivitis.

Risk factors of gingivitis

Presence of certain risk factors either initiate or worsen the exsisting inflammation. these risk factors are:
Altered hormonal conditions such as pregnancy or puberty.
Systemic diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes, leukaemia etc.
Medications that cause dry mouth or gum enlargement as a side effect.

What are Gingivitis Symptoms?

Normal healthy gums appear pink, firm and tightly bound to the underlying bone. However, if your gums appear red, shiny, swollen and bleed on brushing, it is a sign that you have gingivitis. You may also feel pain in the gums after brushing.

Gingivitis is reversible but if it is left untreated it progresses and involves the deeper structures i.e., tooth attachment apparatus (fibres and bone supporting the bone) leading to gum recession.

How to get rid of gingivitis?

Treatment of gingivitis involves the elimination of the causes and removal of plaque and tartar by dental professional followed by intensive oral hygiene measurse. These measures are described in detail below.

Professional cleaning

See your dentist or dental hygienist for professional cleanings every 6 to 12 months. These electronic methods of cleaning remove tartar deposits on the teeth and below the gums which are not removed by toothbrush bristles and flossing.

Scaling of teeth removes tartar from above and below the gum line which is not removed by toothbrush bristles and floss.

Root planing smooths the root surface and removes the surface irregularities that are less receptive to plaque and tartar buildup.

Lasers may remove tartar with less pain and bleeding than scaling and root planing.

Brushing

Brush twice a day with a manual or electric toothbrush twice daily (one in the morning and before going to bed) with fluoridated toothpaste to remove the bacterial plaque from your teeth.

Rinse your mouth with plain water after every meal to remove food deposits from your mouth.

Use of medicated toothpaste

Make sure to use an anti-gingivitis or anti-plaque toothpaste containing fluoride to strengthen teeth and prevent the damage that bacteria in plaque causes as it builds up on teeth throughout the day.

Several anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agents are added to the toothpaste to curb the inflammation. These agents are enzymes, amine alcohols, natural products, triclosan, chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride and different metal salts (zinc salts, stannous fluoride, stannous fluoride with amine fluoride)

These chemical compounds in the toothpastes work by limiting the bacterial growth, disrupting an already established biofilm or altering the composition of the plaque.

Use of anti-plaque mouthwash

Mechanical removal of plaque can be aided by chemical agents. Chlorhexidine gluconate (Paroex, peridex or perioGard), triclosan, cetylpyridinium (Halita, Perio-aid or Colgate Plax) and essential oils (Listerine or Breath Rx) are some of the common anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agents added to the mouthwashes.

After brushing, rinsing thoroughly with an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial mouthwash helps fight plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath. Moreover, mouthwash reaches those areas of the mouth that escapes brushing and flossing.

Flossing

By counting entirely on brushing to keep your teeth clean, you will probably leave nearly half the surface area of your teeth uncleaned that lies between them. For that reason, flossing is an essential part of oral care routine and never an additional cleaning aid.

Flossing at least once a day before brushing removes plaque and food particles lodged between teeth.

If string floss makes your gums bleed or uncomfortable, an oral irrigator is an option. The device is an effective combination of pulsation and pressure to clean where toothbrush bristles and string floss can’t reach.

Surgery for enlarged gums

Enlarged gums as a side effect of the medicine may require surgical re-contouring to allow complete resolution of the inflammation so that oral hygiene measures can be properly carried out.

Evaluate for systemic diseases

If gingivitis doesn’t get better after the removal of plaque and tartar, the dentist may evaluate you for any systemic diseases that are causing it.

Regular dental visits

See your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for cleaning every six to 12 months.

Consult your dentist, if you have risk factors that increase your chance of developing periodontitis such as dry mouth, smoking, obesity, uncontrolled diabetes or heart disease. You may require professional cleaning more often along with other curative measures.

Annual dental X-rays can help intercept diseases early that are not seen by a visual dental examination and monitor for changes in your dental health.

Good health practices

Introduce healthy eating habits in your life by incorporating fibre-rich and vitamin enrich fruits and raw vegetables that possesses a natural scrubbing action on your teeth.

Managing blood sugar is also important especially if you’re a diabetic. High blood sugar is directly linked to the inflammation and destruction of gum tissues.

Possible Complications

Following complications may occur if oral hygiene practices are discontinued or gingivitis is left untreated:

• Signs and symptoms of gingivitis return
Receding gums or loss of tissues supporting the teeth
• Infection or abscess of the gums or the jaw bones
• Trench mouth

When to make an appointment with your dentist?

Schedule an appointment with your dentist for an exam and assessment of your oral health if you have red, swollen gums, bleeding gums or bad breath and you have not had an exam and routine cleaning in the last 6 months. Your dentist and dental hygienist can best determine the appropriate gingivitis treatment for you.

Summary

Gingivitis is the painful inflammation of the gums or gingiva that occurs as a result of bacterial plaque attached to the tooth surface.

Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup on teeth and along the gum line. The immune system recognises plaque as foreign and responds to it with an inflammatory response with red and swollen gums.

Treatment of gingivitis involves the removal of the causes and improvement of oral hygiene.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.