Gingivitis is an early form of periodontal disease, a chronic pathological inflammatory condition. Gingivitis is the result of plaque deposits left on your teeth. Because February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month, we’re here to give you information on warning signs, treatment options, and more! If left untreated, gingivitis can become irreversible and lead to tooth loss.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It is the only stage that can be reversed. If left unmanaged, gingivitis will progress to periodontitis, a serious health condition. Gingivitis is typically painless with mild symptoms. Many people are unaware they have it. Fortunately, gingivitis is curable and preventable when you adopt a regular oral hygiene regimen and see your dentist regularly.
Treating gingivitis at home is cost-effective and a more natural way to find pain relief.
While gingivitis is usually caused by poor dental care, there are other factors that may play a role in contributing to gum disease…
What Causes Gingivitis?
When plaque builds up on your teeth and isn’t removed by proper brushing and flossing, it can turn into an even harder substance called tartar. Tartar build up at the base of your teeth irritates your gums and creates a pocket where more plaque builds up, thus causing more irritation. While gingivitis is usually caused by poor dental care, there are other factors that may play a role in contributing to gum disease, including:
- Smoking/tobacco is one of the greatest risk factors associated with gum disease and can lower the chances for successful treatments.
- Poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing or flossing regularly, is one of many easily avoided causes of gingivitis.
- Not fully removing plaque leaves plaque at the bottom of the gum-line, even if the plaque on your teeth has been removed. You’ll want to pay extra attention to that area, floss regularly, and look for toothpastes like Crest Gum Detoxify or Crest Gum and Enamel Repair that can reach those hard to reach areas.
- Stress is another cause of gingivitis. Constant stress can weaken the immune system and negatively impact the ability to fight off infections.
- Hormonal changes including puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and monthly menstruation increase both sensitivity and inflammation of the gums.
- Poor nutrition deprives your body of important nutrients and makes it more difficult for the body to fight off infections.
- Medications for several conditions can affect oral health. Talk to your dentist or hygienist if you take any prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV impair the body’s ability to fight off infections.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis?
Healthy gums are firm, pale, and pink and fit tightly around the teeth. There are two main types of gingivitis, dental-plaque-induced gingivitis occurs when plaque buildup irritates a person’s gums, resulting in inflammation, discoloration, and pain. The second type is non-plaque-induced gingival lesions, which can result from a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. The signs and symptoms include:
- Gum inflammation and discoloration
- Tender gums that may be painful to touch
- Bleeding from the gums when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Soft gums
In mild cases of gingivitis, there’s no discomfort or any noticeable symptoms. Your dentist or oral hygienist will usually be able to immediately diagnose by looking in your mouth. They may also order tests to check for periodontitis, such as an x-ray or this can be done by using a periodontal probe, which is an instrument used to measure pocket depths around a tooth.
5 Ways To Treat Gingivitis at Home
Treating gingivitis at home is cost-effective and a more natural way to find pain relief. If you begin treatment in the early stages of gingivitis, home remedies can usually clear it up. It’s critical to treat the plaque before it becomes tartar, so consider increasing the frequency and duration of both brushing and flossing. Here are 5 home remedies to treat gingivitis:
- First-line treatment option is practicing good oral health care. If you’re not properly caring for your teeth and gums, home remedies will not clear up the gingivitis.
- Salt-water is a great natural remedy for healing gums that are inflammed by gingivitis because salt is a natural disinfectant that helps the body heal itself.
- Mouthwash options, including lemongrass oil mouthwash, aloe-vera mouthwash, and tea tree mouthwash, tend to be more effective at reducing plaque and tartar than traditional brands.
- Coconut oil pulling is becoming more popular in the west. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties significantly reducing plaque and signs of gingivitis.
- Topical treatments such as a turmeric gel application or a clove application have anti-inflammatory properties that effectively reduce plaque buildup.
The sooner you treat your gingivitis, the better your chance of reversing the disease. Please remember that even though these home remedies contain natural ingredients, you should never swallow them. If you’re ready to take the next step in achieving a healthier smile, please contact us today!