If you have tender, red, swollen and bleeding gums, it may be a sign that you may need gingivitis treatment. Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums (gingiva). It commonly occurs because of films of bacteria that accumulate on the teeth – plaque; this type is called plaque-induced gingivitis.
Among the different forms of gum disease, gingivitis is the most common to occur in humans, with a prevalence of 59.8% in adults between the ages of 35 and 44, and 51.6% in people between 65 and 74 years. This means that more than half of the population over the age of 35 has gingivitis.
Gingivitis is a non-destructive type of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene; however, without treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, in which the inflammation of the gingiva results in tissue destruction.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of gingivitis are somewhat non-specific and manifest in the gum tissue as the classic signs of inflammation
- Swollen gums
- Bright red or purple gums
- Gums that are tender or painful to the touch
- Bleeding gums or bleeding after brushing and/or flossing
- Bad breath (halitosis)
What causes gingivitis?
The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque – the soft, sticky, colourless film of bacteria that forms constantly on the teeth and gums. If the plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis.
According to professionals, prompt treatment usually reverses symptoms of gingivitis and prevents its progression to more serious gum disease and tooth loss. Some of the gingivitis care includes:
- Dental cleaning. Your initial professional cleaning will include removing all traces of plaque, tartar and bacterial products a procedure known as scaling and root planning. Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from your tooth surfaces and beneath your gums. Root planning removes the bacterial products produced by inflammation, smooths the root surfaces, discouraging further build-up of tartar and bacteria, and allows proper healing. The procedure may be performed using instruments, a laser or an ultrasonic device.
- Dental restoration, if needed. Misaligned teeth or poorly fitting crowns, bridges or other dental restorations may irritate your gums and make it harder to remove plaque during daily oral care. If problems with your teeth or dental restorations contribute to your gingivitis, your dentist may recommend fixing these problems.
- On-going care. Gingivitis usually clears up after a thorough professional cleaning as long as you continue good oral hygiene at home. Your dentist will help you plan an effective at-home programme and a schedule of regular professional check-ups and cleaning.
If you are consistent with your home oral hygiene, you should see the return of pink, healthy gum tissue within days or weeks.