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What is Gingivitis?
The secret of a beautiful smile lies in ones dental health. Dental ailments cause unbearable pain, discomfort and affects overall well-being, so it is important to take care of oral hygiene and attend to slightest signs of dental discomfort. One of the common dental problems detected often is Gingivitis, which when left untreated, leads to periodontal disease.
Gingiva means gums and the infection or the inflammation of gums results in Gingivitis. You might have come across people having red and swollen gums which bleed often due to Gingivitis. Gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontitis and is caused by building up of bacteria in ‘plaque’, eventually leading to inflammation of gums and bleeding during brushing ones teeth or even spontaneous bleeding in advanced stage. This infection, if left untreated affects your gingival tissues leading to loosening and eventual loss of teeth.

GINGIVITIS: Symptoms & Causes

Knowing the causes keep us cautious about the disease. Gingivitis is generally caused due to any injury on gums, changes in the hormones during pregnancy, menopause and menstrual changes during periods, deficiency of vitamin C, diabetes, smoking; emotional imbalance, malnutrition, drug effects and it can also be passed on genetically in some cases.

The symptoms of Gingivitis are mostly unnoticeable since they develop painlessly and hence making its presence silent. It is always safe to be aware of the symptoms and get treated at the earliest. Some of the common symptoms that are noticed in Gingivitis are:-

  • Reddish and swollen gums
  • Painful and tender gums
  • Sensitivity to extreme temperatures and sweet/ sour foods
  • Foul breath
  • Bleeding gums while brushing or after brushing

GINGIVITIS: Prevention & Treatment

Gingivitis can be treated as soon as it has been diagnosed. The aim of the dentist would be to remove plaque and tartar. Visiting the dentist periodically helps in removing the plaque and calculus and hence preventing it from becoming severe. Treatments like scaling & root planning, curettage, doing mouthwash rinses which contain antibacterial agents, and flossing help in removing plaque. Even essential oils help in curing gingivitis. Following the treatment, dentists provide information about importance of oral hygiene and how to brush in order to prevent re-formation of plaque. Patients would be advised to brush twice a day and use mouthwash and gum astringents frequently. Strictly following these advices can help you recover soon from gingivitis.
Apart from professional treatments, there are certain home treatments that can help you in recovering from gingivitis. Natural remedy is always the best remedy to avoid side-effects. Apart from brushing your teeth twice and cleaning your mouth often, there are other ways to treat gingivitis. First and foremost, would be the intake of healthy food.
  • Vitamin C - All of us know that Vitamin C is related to strengthening of bones and teeth. Frequent intake of Vitamin C helps in preventing Gingivitis and also acts as a remedy for the disease. People who suffer from deficiency of vitamin C are more prone to gingivitis.  At least 90mg of vitamin C for men and 75mg for women are required on a daily basis to avoid gum diseases. Vitamin C is commonly found in fruits like amla, lemons, oranges, watermelon, mangoes, papaya, pineapple, spinach, broccoli, berries, red peppers, etc.
  • Vitamin D - Vitamin D is also a natural home remedy since it has the capacity to reduce inflammation, swelling and bleeding of gums. Vitamin D along with parathyroid hormone helps in controlling the calcium level in the body. To obtain Vitamin D all you need to do is, expose your body to the sunlight at least 10 to 15 minutes a day. It can also be found in drumsticks, fish, milk and eggs.
  • Clove and clove oil - Clove plays a major role in treating gingivitis. Cloves are disinfectants and they can protect your teeth from bacteria. Chewing a clove after every meal reduces the risk of gingivitis. Clove oil also helps in curing Gingivitis as it acts as an antiseptic and painkiller. Rub a little of clove oil over the gums for relief. People with kidney and liver problems or sensitivity to clove oil should control the usage of clove.
  • Baking Soda - Brushing regularly by adding little baking soda to your toothpaste can reduce gingivitis. You can also mix little water or Hydrogen Peroxide to baking soda and massage your gums. It kills bacteria and hence reduces plaque.
  • Salt and warm water – Gargle rinse your mouth with some salt and warm water. Salt in warm water kills bacteria and softens tightens your gums.
  • Aloe Vera - Aloe Vera is an active anti-inflammatory agent since it contains anthraquinones. It can reduce swelling and redness caused due to gingivitis. Aloe Vera is more soothing to the teeth due to its softness.
  • Green Tea - Green tea contains poly-phenols that increase your immunity system and fights against bacteria that cause plaque. Fluoride rich green tea strengthens your tooth enamel and protects you from gingivitis and tooth decay.

1) What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused due to a bacterial infection. If left unchecked it can result in the gums to separate from the teeth leading to tooth erosion or loss and other serious complications like periodontitis.  It is usually caused due to food particles trapped in the spaces or gaps between the gums and teeth. Improper dental care escalates the problem as it allows the germ causing bacteria to accumulate inside the mouth and cause infection in the gum.

2) Is gingivitis contagious?

Gingivitis is the infection in the gum and bone area around the teeth. It can be contagious depending upon how susceptible a person is to catching infections and diseases. Periodontitis bacteria can be transferred easily among partners while indulging in kissing or sharing or cups or food items. But mere transfer of saliva does not mean you can get gum infection or disease. It depends upon how often the person is exposed to infected saliva and the levels of his/her immunity.  Keeping your mouth clean and following a regular oral care regime can eliminate the chances of you getting the infection.

3) Are gum disease & gingivitis the same thing?

While gingivitis and periodontitis are both considered to precede gum infection, they are two different things. Gingivitis is a milder form of periodontal disease and causes the gums to swell, turn red or bleed easily. It is caused due to improper or lack of oral healthcare routine and is followed by little or no discomfort in the mouth or affected tooth area at this stage of the disease. Periodontitis is a more advanced form of gum disease and can cause chronic inflammation in the gum area and in more severe cases separate the tooth from the gum resulting in tooth loss or abrasion.

4) Can gingivitis be reversed?

Yes, since gingivitis is an initial stage and milder form of gum infection, with proper care and help from the dentist it can easily be reversed or stopped from spreading further into something serious. A visit to the dentist will help you get rid of the tartar and plaque that must have formed a layer on the surface of the tooth and causing irritation in the gum area. Post a session with the dentist, follow the steps of regularly cleaning and brushing your teeth with a tartar-control toothpaste followed by rinsing your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash for better results.

5) How can gingivitis be prevented?

One of the major causes of gingivitis is poor or lack of oral hygiene. To prevent gingivitis you need to follow a proper regime of brushing, flossing and rinsing your teeth and mouth at least twice a day. Making few dietary changes like eating foods that are low on sugar content and high on vitamin and calcium are also required. Apart from this quitting smoking and alcohol can also prevent you from falling prey to gum disease or infection. Regular visits to doctor will keep you updated on the health of your teeth and mouth and keep all dental problems away.

6) How to treat gingivitis?

Brush your teeth more effectively twice a day. Floss them properly as flossing is a great tool when it comes to eliminating germ causing bacteria or trapped food particles from the mouth. Use an antibacterial and tartar-control toothpaste as it will help fight plaque. An antimicrobial and antibacterial mouthwash always comes handy in swishing your mouth with and washing away all the tiny germs and bacteria hiding in the hard to reach places inside the mouth. Regular visits to the dentist will help you eliminate any chances of contracting infection or disease and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Please understand that the physical action of brushing is extremely important.

Herbal Toothpaste for Gingivitis

Dabur Meswak, a herbal toothpaste with pure extract of Miswak plant whose astringent and anti-bacterial properties help reduce tooth decay, fight plaque and prevent gum diseases.