Inflammation of Gums that is called Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease caused by poor oral hygiene resulting in swelling, redness, bleeding and sometimes tooth decay. The gums become swollen, dusky red and can bleed easily, even while brushing. Gingivitis is generally mild but sometimes it can lead to serious gum disease and eventually causes tooth loss. It is common in children between 3-11 years of age. However, with good oral hygiene, gingivitis is reversible.
Symptoms of inflammation of Gums (Gingivitis)
Symptoms of gingivitis includes
- Swollen gums
- Soft and puffy gums
- Receding gums (Margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away )
- Bleeding of gums while brushing
- Dusky red gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Bad taste in the mouth
Causes of Gingivitis
The main cause of the inflammation of gums is poor oral hygiene that leads to plaque formation (invisible sticky film composed of bacteria). Plaque is formed on teeth if we leave sugary food particles sticking on the teeth for a long time. This invites bacteria already present in the mouth. The food and bacteria combination stays on the teeth and forms plaque. Acids released in plaque formation cause gingivitis and later tooth damage. If brushing is not done properly and regularly, plaque is formed on the tooth that makes gum more prone to swelling.
Risk Factors of Inflammation of Gums
Besides poor oral hygiene, the following factors enhance the chances of gingivitis:
- Smoking or use of tobacco
- Old age
- Decreased immunity in disease conditions like cancer, AIDS, etc.
- Certain medicines like antiepileptics
- Dryness of mouth
- Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy
- Poor nutrition
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Deficiency of Vitamin C
If gingivitis is not controlled for a long time, it causes:
- Bad breath
- Loose tooth
- Tooth decay
Best way to prevent gingivitis is to maintain good dental hygiene such as:
- Brushing teeth after eating sugar-rich foods like ice cream & chocolates, etc.
- Plaque can be removed by the simple act of properly brushing the teeth, regularly (at least twice a day) and use of an appropriate toothbrush
- Regular dental checkups are advised; at least once in every six months
Management of Inflammation of Gums
Diagnosis involves the appearance of symptoms mentioned above, confirmation followed by a dentist. He may use a probe (a tiny ruler) to measure pockets in the mouth. In the mouth of a healthy individual, the depth of such pockets is in the range of 1 to 3 millimeters.
Treatment: Preventing the build up of plaque on teeth is the best treatment. It can be done by:
- Tooth scaling (cleaning of teeth)
- Mouthwashes containing antimicrobial agents like Chlorhexidine
- Filling of tooth cavities
- Rinsing with warm saline solution
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