What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that can cause damage to the gums and the teeth. It is known to cause irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of the gums around the base of the teeth. It is extremely important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it at the earliest as it can lead to serious gum disease like periodontitis and further cause tooth loss.
What are the symptoms of Gingivitis?
Signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Dark red gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Receding Gums
What are the causes of Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is caused by oral hygiene which causes plaque to form on the teeth, this, in turn, causes inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues.
- Plaque: First plaque forms on the teeth, if there is no proper brushing and flossing involved this Plaque turns into tartar, which collects bacteria. This causes irritation and swelling in the gumline. Once tartar has been formed, you need professional dental cleaning to remove tartar. The Gingiva becomes inflamed (gingivitis), in time the gums are swollen and start to bleed. If left untreated can cause periodontitis and eventual tooth loss.
- Hormonal changes: This is in the case of women – pregnancy, menopause, menstrual cycle or use of birth control pills also make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Diseases: Diseases like diabetes, cancer and AIDS can also affect the condition of the gums. Also, the medications used to treat these diseases can affect normal oral health by reducing the flow of saliva making the mouth dry. Saliva actually helps in protecting the teeth and gums.
- Poor habits: Habits like smoking, drinking alcohol etc., which makes it harder for the gum tissues to repair on its own.
- Genes: If you have a family history of dental problems, there is a high chance of developing gingivitis.
Diagnosis of Gingivitis
We will check for bleeding or swelling of gums. Along with this, we might also check for any sensitivity or irregular teeth alignment. Once this is done, we will check for the amount of plaque in the oral cavity and clean it up. This check-up may also include a series of x- rays and periodontal probing, using an instrument that measures pocket depths around a tooth.
What are the complications involved in Gingivitis?
It can lead to Periodontitis, a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss. Chronic gingiva inflammation has also been associated with systemic diseases such as diabetes, respiratory disease, coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke. Certain studies also show that that the bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter the bloodstream through the gum tissue, possibly affecting the lungs, heart and other parts of your body. Also, it can lead to something known as the trench mouth, which although is not so common.
How do you get rid of gingivitis? What kills gingivitis?
- Regular oral hygiene must be followed daily brushing and flossing
- Hydrogen peroxide, saline, alcohol or chlorhexidine mouthwashes are also recommended
- Daily care and regular dental visits
Get in touch with our expert periodontists to understand if you have gingivitis and how to get it treated