Gingivitis: Overview and More


Gingivitis is a reversible form of gum disease caused by plaque build-up on the tooth surface. It causes non-destructive inflammation of the gums, but if left untreated, it can progress to a more serious form of a condition called periodontitis . Regular oral hygiene, including regular visits to the dentist, is the best preventive measure.

Research shows that more than half of American adults have gingivitis. Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of gingivitis and seek treatment to protect your teeth and overall health.

This article details the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of gingivitis, and what you can do to avoid this common form of gum disease.


Gingivitis is characterized by inflammation of the gums. Early warning signs are often overlooked as a "natural" part of aging, and some people only take action when severe symptoms appear.

According to the American Dental Association, common symptoms of gingivitis include:

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease that can cause irreversible bone destruction and receding (pulling) of the gums.

Untreated gum disease can lead to toothache or sensitivity , loose teeth, bite changes, tooth loss, and local infections that can become systemic (affecting other tissues or organs).


You can tell you have gingivitis if your gums are red and swollen and bleed after brushing or flossing. These symptoms can be accompanied by bad breath and gum pain.


Gingivitis is most commonly caused by plaque bacteria. The constant presence of bacteria around the teeth triggers an inflammatory response from the immune system , causing the gums to become inflamed and red.

Risk factors for gingivitis include:

Gingivitis and genetics

Gum disease is often inherited, suggesting that genetics may be causing gingivitis. Some studies show that up to a third of cases are due to genetic factors and tend to be more severe.


Gingivitis is diagnosed with a complete dental exam . This is not just a dental X -ray and an exam of your teeth and gums, but also an overview of your medical and dental history. The examination may be performed by a dentist or dental hygienist , but interpretation of the results is ultimately done by the dentist.

During the exam, each tooth is examined and a score of 0-3 is given for each of the four tooth surfaces: distal (back), buccal (cheek), lingual (tongue), and mesial (anterior). -side). The scores are then averaged to give each tooth a unique score.

Scores are based on the chewing gum index (GI), which rates the quality of chewing gum as follows:

  • 0: normal
  • 1: slight swelling without bleeding on exam
  • 2: Moderate swelling with bleeding on examination.
  • 3: Severe inflammation with spontaneous bleeding and ulceration .

Once a treatment plan has been determined, regular follow-up visits should be scheduled to see if your condition has improved, is stable, or has progressed (worsened).

Watch out

The main treatment for gingivitis is to remove plaque and tartar. This is done in the dentist's office using a variety of instruments, including picks and scalers.

After brushing your teeth, you can control plaque by brushing and flossing regularly. Oscillating electric toothbrushes are generally better at removing plaque than manual toothbrushes.

Chlorhexidine mouthwash may also be recommended in combination with brushing and flossing. (Despite what some people may tell you, stronger chlorhexidine mouthwashes don't work any better than less concentrated formulas. and can only increase the risk of mouth irritation and tooth staining ).

Other interventions may be recommended. If the medications you are taking contribute to the development of gingivitis, you may be advised to speak with your healthcare provider about how to adjust your medication. If you are deficient in vitamin C, supplements may be prescribed. Limiting or quitting tobacco use can also help.

Several medicinal herbs have also been shown to reduce gum inflammation caused by gingivitis, including tea, chamomile , and pomegranate .


The main treatment for gingivitis is to remove plaque and tartar in the dentist's office. Good oral hygiene is also essential with regular brushing and flossing. Chlorhexidine mouthwash can also be used to prevent plaque and tartar formation.


Unlike periodontitis, the symptoms of gingivitis are completely reversible. When properly identified and treated, the affected tissue can return to normal after the plaque has been removed. Regular dental care by the dentist is considered essential.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting your dentist regularly every six months to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. You should also brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day.


Gingivitis is a reversible form of gum disease caused by plaque buildup on the teeth. This causes redness and swelling of the gums, as well as bleeding after brushing or flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to an irreversible form of gum disease called periodontitis.

The main cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene, but other factors such as crooked teeth, smoking, inappropriate dental bridges, and certain medications can also affect. Gingivitis can only be diagnosed by a dental exam, but a dental X-ray may also be recommended.

Gingivitis is treated with plaque and tartar removal in the dentist's office, as well as conventional brushing and flossing at home. Chlorhexidine mouthwash can also be helpful.

Get the word of drug information

As much as you can control gingivitis with regular brushing and flossing, you shouldn't assume that this will make your visit to the dentist less important. Sometimes gingivitis can occur even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly, and if left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to your gums or teeth.

Today, only about 58% of people in the United States visit their dentist regularly. This explains a lot why gingivitis and other oral diseases are so common. By visiting your dentist twice a year, you can avoid complications that can be more difficult to treat and more expensive.

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