Gingivitis is the swelling of gingiva or gums that surround our teeth. Gingivitis has different stages depending on the area affected and symptoms. Initial gingivitis is entirely curable. It has mild to moderate symptoms like bleeding gums or swelling. Do you know how to get rid of gingivitis?
Professional dental care, such as scaling, root planning, fixing a loose prosthesis, treatment of crooked teeth, etc., and home care, such as regular brushing, flossing, etc., are gingivitis treatment modalities.
If gingivitis is not treated on time, then it can have a severe progression to another ailment known as Periodontitis. Periodontitis is the inflammation of adjacent tooth structures like periodontal ligament and bone.
Periodontitis looks like gingivitis in its early stages. Once we see receding gums, the condition becomes irreversible.
Gingivitis is curable, but it is essential to know which stage is it in. We should be able to identify gingivitis and know the causes behind it. So, let’s see how to get rid of gingivitis in detail.
An overview of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a common gum disease that causes irritation, redness, and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva/gums around the teeth. It is important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it. Gingivitis can lead to a serious gum disease like periodontitis and eventually tooth loss.
Gingivitis can be localized which affects less than six teeth or generalized when it affects more than six teeth. The two significant forms of gingivitis are acute and chronic.
Acute gingivitis has symptoms like bleeding, painful, swollen gums and mouth odor. Chronic gingivitis is a prolonged case of gingivitis, which is symptomless. (1)
The most widely known cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene and bad oral habits. Good oral hygiene habits, like brushing twice daily, flossing and regular dental checkups, can help prevent and reverse gingivitis.
Symptoms of gingivitis
In mild cases of gingivitis, there may be no discomfort or noticeable symptoms. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis might include –
- Red or bluish-purple gums
- Tender gums that may be painful when touched
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums
- Receding Gums
- Fragile gums
Is gingivitis curable or not?
Gingivitis is curable when treated promptly. But to understand the severity, it is essential to know the stage of gingivitis you are in. Acute gingivitis shows a lot of symptoms. It is the easiest to diagnose and cure.
Gingivitis becomes incurable once it progresses to more severe problems like Periodontitis and ANUG (Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis). Once gingivitis progresses to these two serious issues, surgery is the only option.
Even after surgery, the damages are not completely reversible. So we need to take prompt action as soon as we see early signs of gingivitis.
Symptoms should be treated first along with the underlying cause. Gingivitis cures after the swelling of gums reduce. So now that we know that gingivitis is curable let’s see how. (2)
How to get rid of gingivitis? – Gingivitis treatment options
Early diagnosis and treatment can cure gingivitis completely. We do the treatment of gingivitis in two steps. The first step is professional care, i.e., treatment done by dentists and then home care that we do on our own.
1. Scaling and root planning
Plaque and tartar are the leading cause of gingivitis and need to be removed. The process of plaque removal is known as scaling. Root planning is the removal of plaque and tartar from the root surfaces of the tooth.
Root planning is known as subgingival scaling because in this instruments are placed below the gums.
A dentist or a dental hygienist can do scaling. A dentist uses specific instruments known as scalers for this treatment. Swelling in the gums reduces after scaling.
A follow-up appointment after two weeks of scaling is mandatory to see the improvement in our gum condition.
Scaling is a very inexpensive and easy method of cleaning our teeth and gums. It can be repeated in every three months to maintain good oral hygiene.
2. Treatment of rotated and crooked teeth
It is difficult to floss between rotated teeth or crooked and misshapen teeth because of less space. Therefore, the gums around such teeth are often affected by gingivitis because of plaque accumulation. Orthodontic treatment or extraction of such teeth is necessary to protect the gums.
Once the teeth placement is corrected, scaling should be done to reduce gum swelling. Good oral hygiene maintenance is necessary after that.
You should brush twice daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash. You can use an orthodontic or electric toothbrush while undergoing treatment.
3. Fixing a loose prosthesis
When we have a prosthesis or artificial teeth/crowns in our mouth, it acts as a hub for an accumulation of bacteria. The prosthesis doesn’t fit as snugly on the gums as our natural teeth do.
The gap between the prosthesis and gums is a hub for bacteria and gingivitis is very common in these areas. We should visit a dentist if we have a loose crown or a gap between our artificial and natural teeth.
We should follow through all dental appointments and then continue with the following home care procedures.
- Brush teeth twice a day and also after consuming sticky and sweet food.
- Use an electric toothbrush if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
- Floss teeth daily
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash
Types of Gingivitis
Based on location
- Localized Gingivitis- when the gum around less than six teeth is affected.
- Generalized Gingivitis- when gum around more than six teeth is affected.
Based on duration
- Acute Gingivitis- when gingivitis is short lived and shows symptoms like bleeding and swelling.
- Chronic Gingivitis- when it is a long-standing case of gingivitis with no severe symptoms.
Causes of gingivitis
We can prevent gingivitis if we know the underlying causes. Some of the causes of gingivitis are –
The most prevalent cause of gingivitis is an accumulation of bacteria/ plaque between and around the teeth. Dental plaque triggers an immune response, which, in turn, can lead to the destruction of gum tissue.
It may also lead to further complications, including the loss of teeth.
If we do not remove plaque in time, it can harden into calculus/tartar near the gums. Only a dentist or a dental hygienist can remove calculus.
Plaque and tartar eventually irritate the gums, causing gum inflammation around the base of the teeth. The gums might easily bleed because of the irritation which is the earliest sign of gingivitis.
Plaque also is known to cause bad breath and swelling in the gums. (3)
Hormonal changes may occur during puberty, menopause, menstrual cycle and pregnancy. The gingiva might become more sensitive to inflammation during hormone rise.
Cancer, diabetes, and HIV patients show a higher risk of gingivitis.
Gum health may be affected by some medications, especially if those medications reduce the flow of saliva.
Smoking is a known cause to increase the incidence of gingivitis and other oral health problems.
Advanced age is a reason for gingivitis.
Poor nutrition is a reason behind poor health leading down to gingivitis.
Gingivitis can be a familial problem. If your parents have suffered from gingivitis, then it is highly likely that you might suffer from gingivitis too.
How to prevent gingivitis?
Gingivitis and gum problems are easily preventable by following the underlying simple routine.
Good oral hygiene
Brushing twice daily, flossing and using mouthwash every day is the best way to maintain good oral health. Maintaining good oral health is the best way to prevent gingivitis.
Regular dental visits
Visiting your dentist for regular cleaning to keep plaque and tartar away is necessary. Seeing your dentist once a month is advisable to maintain good oral hygiene.
Good health practices
Eating healthy is an excellent way to maintain good health and fight any bacterial attack on the gums. There is an overall reduction in the chances of suffering from gingivitis if we are healthy.
Final words on how to get rid of gingivitis
Gingivitis is a mild to moderate inflammation of the gums caused majorly by the accumulation of bacteria around the teeth. Gingival swelling reduces when we treat the underlying cause.
Hence it is safe to say that gingivitis is curable and damage to the gums after being affected by gingivitis is entirely reversible.
Although once affected by gingivitis, the gums become susceptible to future bacterial attack. So, even after a complete cure of gingivitis, we must maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily, flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash.
Smoking and chewing tobacco can also cause gingivitis so we should quit such habits for healthy gums.
Oral health is a gateway to our general body health. Avoiding a dentist if you see mild symptoms like swollen or bleeding gums or even bad mouth odor is not a good idea. Gingivitis is curable with early diagnosis and prompt treatment.