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Gum Disease | Gingivitis

Gum Disease | Gingivitis


What you need to know about
Gum Disease | Gingivitis

Gum inflammation, or gingivitis, is typically brought on by a bacterial infection. It can develop into the more dangerous infection known as periodontitis if it is left untreated.

According to the British Dental Association, periodontitis and gingivitis are the two main factors that contribute to tooth loss in adults.

Gum infections types

In most cases, tooth plaque buildup is what causes gingivitis. Inadequate dental hygiene is only one of several potential contributing variables, which also include:

  • Some medications, including oral or injectable birth control, cyclosporine, calcium channel blockers, and phenytoin (these medications can cause gingivitis or make it worse because they can lead to an overgrowth of gum tissue and make plaque hard to remove).
  • Severe vitamin C deficiency (this is rare in the United Kingdom)
  • Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy and menopause
  • Leukaemia
  • Nickel, a hefty metal that is used in various jewellery
  • Exposure to bismuth, a substance present in several cosmetics

Some gum infections that result in gingivitis are unrelated to plaque accumulation. These consist of the following:

  • Some viral or fungal illnesses, like thrush
  • A tooth that is impacted, or one that doesn’t fully emerge (if this happens, the flap of gum over the tooth can trap debris and cause gingivitis)

Symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis

The majority of people are unaware they have gum disease. Gingivitis can exist without showing any symptoms. However, the following signs of gum disease can occur:

  • Red, painful, or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums during tooth brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are no longer attached to your teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • A change in the way your teeth bite together (malocclusion)
  • Pus between the gums and teeth
  • Difficulty chewing due to pain
  • Sensitive teeth
  • No longer fitting partial dentures
  • Bad breath that persists even after brushing your teeth


Your gums will be prodded with a small ruler during a dental examination.

  • By probing, you can examine the area for inflammation.
  • Any pockets around your teeth are measured. 1 to 3 millimetres is a normal depth.
  • X-rays may also be requested by your dentist to check for bone loss.

Discuss your symptoms and the causes of your gum disease with your dentist. This could be used to identify gingivitis. If gingivitis is present, a periodontist may be consulted. A dentist who focuses on the treatment of gum disorders is known as a periodontist.


In contrast to what we see, your gums actually join your teeth at a place below the gum line. This creates a little void known as a sulcus. An accumulation of food and plaque in this area might result in gingivitis or gum infection.

A bacterial thin film is known as plaque. It continuously develops on your teeth’s surface. Tartar develops as plaque hardens over time. Plaque that penetrates below the gum line might cause gum infection.

Gingivitis can cause the gums to split from the teeth if it is not treated. This may lead to:

  • Harm to the teeth’s supporting bone and soft tissue
  • The tooth becomes fragile and loose
  • The tooth eventual falls out if the infection spreads

Risk factors of gum disease

Risk factors for gingivitis and periodontitis include the following:

  • Using tobacco to smoke or chew
  • Diabetes
  • Several drugs, including Oral conceiving pills, steroids, anticonvulsants, blockers of calcium channels, chemotherapy
  • Crooked teeth
  • An inadequate fit for dental appliances
  • Damaged fillings
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic influences
  • Weakened immunity, such as that caused by HIV

When to see a dentist

If you suspect you may have gum disease, it’s critical to see a dentist right away because it is still treatable in its early stages. If you experience any indications of gum disease, speak with a dentist. Early symptoms are typically red, swollen, and easily bleeding gums.

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To treat gingivitis, you must maintain good oral hygiene. Additionally, if you smoke, you should reduce your intake, and if you have diabetes, you should take care of it. Even though giving up smoking can be challenging, a doctor can assist you in creating a strategy that will work for you.

Other therapies comprise:

  • Dental hygiene routine
  • Antibacterial drugs
  • Surgery

Teeth Cleaning

Numerous methods can be utilised to thoroughly clean your teeth without surgery. To avoid causing gum inflammation, they all eliminate plaque and tartar:

  • Scaling. Tartar from both above and below the gum line is removed by teeth scaling.
  • Root thinning. By doing so, the root surface’s rough patches are smoothed down and plaque and tartar are removed.
  • Lasers. In comparison to scaling and root planing, this procedure may eliminate tartar with less discomfort and blood.


Gum disease can be treated with a variety of medications.

  • Chlorhexidine-containing antiseptic mouthwash can be used to clean your mouth.
  • After root planing, pockets can be filled with timed-release antiseptic chips containing chlorhexidine.
  • After scaling and planing, antibiotic microspheres produced with minocycline can be placed into pockets.
  • Inflammation of the gums that persists can be treated with oral antibiotics.
  • An antibiotic called doxycycline helps prevent enzymes from harming teeth.


You may require surgery if your gingivitis is severe, especially if it has led to any bone or gum tissue loss. A periodontist can perform several different kinds of gum surgery, including:

  • Flap surgery. During flap surgery, the gums are pulled back and tartar and plaque are removed from deeper places. The gums are then positioned around the tooth and secured with sutures.
  • Tissue and bone transplants. When your teeth and jaw are too damaged to repair, grafting may be necessary. To conceal the exposed tooth root, gum graft surgery takes tissue from your mouth’s roof. This lessens further bone and gum deterioration. Your doctor will begin a bone graft operation similar to a flap procedure, but they will insert a bone graft to help your body replace any missing jaw bone.
  • Lengthening of dental crowns. There may be more gum tissue in some gingivitis sufferers. A periodontist can remodel your gum and bone tissue in this situation so that more of your teeth are visible. Additionally, it could be required prior to some dental restoration or cosmetic operations.


Gum disease can be avoided with good and consistent dental hygiene. This comprises:

A healthy diet is essential for developing and preserving oral health.

Health issues brought on by gum disease

According to the NHS and the British Dental Association, periodontal disease raises the risk of:

It also raises the possibility of a woman giving birth to a child who is early or has a low birth weight.

Although gum disease has been linked to various illnesses, there is no evidence that it is the actual cause of them. To learn more about this association’s specifics, more research is required.