Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
Gingivitis always starts off with a build up of plaque – an invisible, sticky film made up mostly of bacteria. When starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in our mouths, plaque can form on our teeth. Brushing our teeth twice a day and flossing once a day removes plaque.
Plaque can re-form very quickly – within 24 hours of brushing your teeth. Plaque that remains in our mouths for longer than two or three days goes hard under the gum line, and forms tartar (calculus). Tartar makes plaque much harder to brush away and acts as an environment in which bacteria can thrive.
It is not usually possible to remove tartar by just brushing or flossing. It can only be effectively removed by a dentist or dental hygienist using a technique called scaling, scale, or polish – the tartar is scraped away using a special instrument. If there are any marks or stains the teeth are then polished.
If the plaque and tartar remain in the teeth, the gingiva (the gum) will become more irritated and inflamed. Eventually, the gums will be swollen and more likely to bleed. If tartar build-up continues the condition can progress to periodontitis.
Gingivitis and periodontitis are typically caused by poor oral hygiene.
The treatment goals for gingivitis are to identify and eliminate the factors that are making the person more susceptible to gum disease. Most factors can be eliminated by establishing more consistent and thorough oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings. If there are certain risk factors such as smoking or uncontrolled diabetes that are contributing to the gum disease, they need to be addressed or eliminated to have success in reversing gingivitis. After the plaque and tartar are removed by a dentist or hygienist, the patient can usually cure gum disease by brushing and flossing after every meal and using a daily mouth rinse. Under the supervision of a dentist, a patient can use 10% carbamide peroxide in a custom made tray that fits over the teeth with positive effects on plaque control and gingival health. This is especially helpful in patients where conventional oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing are impaired due to age or special needs.
In cases where gingivitis has led to periodontal disease and there are deep pockets that are difficult to clean, the patient may require deep scaling and root planing to clean teeth that are surrounded by deep pockets. They may need surgical treatment to gain access to all the tooth surfaces for a thorough cleaning. This surgical procedure is called flap surgery and can be combined with a pocket-reduction surgery to make the areas around the teeth easier for the patient to clean with brushing and flossing. This procedure consists of numbing the gums and then lifting them back to clean the teeth and sometimes reshape the bone. The gums are then repositioned around the teeth so there aren’t the deep pockets that existed before treatment.
Soft-tissue grafts are used to cover up root surfaces that have been exposed by receding gums. This can help eliminate sensitive teeth and protect the root surfaces that are softer and more difficult to clean.
Laser therapy is another treatment to help increase gum health. The gum pocket is treated with a soft tissue laser to eliminate the harmful bacteria deep in the periodontal pockets, remove unhealthy tissue and help stimulate healing.
Along with good oral health habits, there are some available home remedies for gingivitis that you can try to support what your dentists are doing.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin can effectively reduce plaque, pain, swelling and inflammation in the gums. Plus, it can reduce bacterial activity to prevent infection.
A study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology also found turmeric mouthwash to be effective as an adjunct to mechanical plaque control to prevent plaque and gingivitis, thanks to its anti-plaque, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties comparable to that of a traditional chlorexidine mouthwash.
Salt is a continuous gingivitis home treatment that should not be looked down on because of its antiseptic and antibacterial agents. Salt can cure swollen and gum inflamed. Also, it gets infection out of abscesses and limits the bacterial development in your mouth.
Basically, baking soda is among common home remedies for gingivitis because it can neutralize the acids in your mouth, subsequently decreasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Baking can sever well as a natural antiseptic to aid in combating with gum infections.
Lemons contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help treat gum disease. Plus, they contain vitamin C, which can help fight off infection.