Gingivitis Treatment – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

How Gum Disease Is Treated

Gingivitis Treatment Overview

Gingivitis is a common condition characterized by inflammation and bleeding of the gums. It is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums, and if not removed, can harden into tartar.

The bacteria in plaque and tartar release toxins that can irritate and inflame the gums, causing them to become red, swollen and bleed easily.

Gingivitis is a reversible condition, which means that it can be treated and the gums can return to a healthy state.

However, if gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis, which can cause tooth loss.

Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums that bleed easily, bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth, receding gums and loose or sensitive teeth.

Risk factors for gingivitis include poor oral hygiene, smoking, certain medical conditions, certain medications, hormonal changes, genetics, poor diet and stress.

Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing and treating gingivitis. This includes brushing and flossing teeth at least twice a day, using an antibacterial mouthwash and visiting the dentist regularly.

If you suspect you have gingivitis, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to diagnose gingivitis and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

In some cases, a dental cleaning, scaling, and root planning may be needed to remove plaque and tartar. Medications such as antibiotics may also be prescribed to help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.

The Primary Cause:

Bacteria are a natural part of the oral microbiome, but when they build up in large numbers, they can cause inflammation and infection in the gums. This is how bacteria cause gingivitis.

When you eat sugary or starchy foods, the bacteria in your mouth produce acid that can erode the enamel on your teeth. This acid also creates a sticky film called plaque on your teeth and gums.

If plaque is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.

The bacteria in plaque and tartar release toxins and acids that can irritate and inflame the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. This inflammation is known as gingivitis.

The plaque and tartar can also cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can accumulate and cause further damage. This can lead to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can result in tooth loss if left untreated.


  1. Red, swollen gums
  2. Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  3. Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  4. Receding gums
  5. Loose or sensitive teeth

Risk Factors:

There are several risk factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of developing gingivitis, including:

  1. Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing regularly, or not using proper technique when doing so, can lead to plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth and gums.
  2. Smoking and tobacco use: Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco products can irritate the gums and make it harder for the body to fight off infection.
  3. Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, menopause, or adolescence can make the gums more sensitive and susceptible to inflammation.
  4. Certain medical conditions: People with diabetes, HIV, or other conditions that affect the immune system may be more likely to develop gingivitis.
  5. Medications: Certain medications, such as birth control pills, antidepressants, and blood pressure drugs can cause dry mouth, which can lead to an increase in bacteria and plaque.
  6. Genetics: Some people may be more prone to developing gingivitis due to their genetics.
  7. Poor diet: Consuming high amounts of sugar and starch can also increase your risk of developing gingivitis.
  8. Stress: research has shown that stress can affect the immune system and increase the risk of gum disease.

It’s important to note that not all people with these risk factors will develop gingivitis. However, those who do have one or more of these risk factors should pay extra attention to their oral hygiene and see a dentist regularly to prevent or treat the condition.

Gingivitis Treatments and Prevention:

  1. Improve oral hygiene: Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day to remove plaque and bacteria. Use an antibacterial mouthwash to kill germs.
  2. Scaling and root planing: A dental procedure in which the dentist removes plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and smooths the roots of the teeth to prevent bacteria from sticking.
  3. Medications: Antibiotics may be prescribed to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. Antibacterial mouthwash can also be used as a treatment.
  4. Lifestyle changes: Quit smoking and reduce your intake of sugary and starchy foods, which can lead to plaque buildup.
  5. Regular dental checkups: Visit your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and to check for signs of gingivitis.

If gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to periodontitis, a more serious condition that can cause tooth loss. It is important to see your dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene to prevent and treat gingivitis.

At home Gingivitis treatments and prevention:

At-home treatment for gingivitis includes improving oral hygiene, making lifestyle changes, and using over-the-counter products. Here are some steps you can take to treat gingivitis at home:

  1. Brush and floss regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day to remove plaque and bacteria.
  2. Use an antiseptic mouthwash: Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash can help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation in the gums.
  3. Scraping your tongue: Scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper can help remove bacteria and freshen breath.
  4. Use interdental brushes or water flosser: These can help remove plaque from hard-to-reach areas between teeth and gums.
  5. Make lifestyle changes: Quit smoking, reduce your intake of sugary and starchy foods, and manage stress to reduce your risk of developing gingivitis.
  6. Use over-the-counter gingivitis products: There are various products available in the market like toothpaste, gels, and rinses that are specifically formulated to treat gingivitis.
  7. Use Vitamin C supplements: Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums, and supplementing with vitamin C can help reduce inflammation and promote healing in the gums.

It is important to note that at-home treatment can help improve the symptoms of gingivitis, but it is not a substitute for professional dental care. It’s important to see a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings to remove plaque and tartar and to monitor the progression of gingivitis.

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