The Definition of Gingivitis
Gingivitis in the inflammation of gums that surround your teeth. Actually, three stages of gums inflammation may be recognized with the gingivitis being the mildest form as it only affects your gums.
Two other, more advanced stages, are known as periodontitis and advanced periodontitis and they are much more difficult to cure. You may get them when you leave gingivitis untreated for a long time.
A lot of people are even not aware that they developed gingivitis in their oral cavity as, especially in the early stage, it’s painless. You should treat it, though, as it has been scientifically proved that gingivitis may be dangerous for pregnant women and it can lead to other serious diseases, such as diabetes, heart attack, or a lung disease.
Therefore, if you want to have healthy teeth and oral cavity, you must take some measures in order to cure gingivitis and prevent it in the future.
The Causes of Gingivitis
Gingivitis develops in your mouth when too much plaque builds up in your mouth. Plaque, on the other hand, occurs if you don’t brush and floss your teeth thoroughly enough. What’s more, if there is a lot of plaque in your mouth, it transforms into tartar, a substance which is much harder that plaque.
Therefore, the main cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Tartar usually grows at the base of the teeth and that irritates your gums. In consequence your gums create even more space and a vicious circle starts as more plaque accumulates on the top of the tartar. Because of that your delicate gum tissue becomes even more irritated.
Another cause of gingivitis is some hormonal changes in our organism. Thus, gums inflammation often develops during pregnancy, puberty, or menopause. Some women even suffer from it during their menstruation. Probably a hormonal imbalance in our organism makes our gums more sensitive so they can be attacked by the disease more easily.
Sometimes it’s genetics to blame so if your relatives have struggled with the problem, you are also in the risk group. More often, however, it’s our unhealthy lifestyle that leads to gums inflammation.
Remember that your bad habits can create in your mouth a good environment for various bacteria. Thus, if you eat a lot of sweets, you smoke, or drink too much alcohol, your gum tissue doesn’t have enough time to regenerate and gingivitis may develop more easily.
Our oral cavity needs a proper amount of saliva for proper functioning as it can naturally clean and protect our gums and teeth. Some medicines, however, can disturb the formation and flow of the saliva, making the gums more susceptible to gingivitis. They include anti-angina drugs and anticonvulsants.
Gingivitis may also develop more easily if your immune system is weakened by some serious diseases, such as cancer or HIV.
The Symptoms of Gingivitis
The problem with gingivitis is that it often doesn’t give any symptoms and people are sometimes even not aware that they developed it. Thus, even if you don’t feel any pain, you should regularly observe your gums and teeth to notice other signs of the disease.
However, there are some symptoms which you may experience. If you suffer from gingivitis, you may observe blood on your toothbrush while and after brushing your teeth. Your gums may also be sensitive to cold or heat, be red or swollen .
Bad breath and unpleasant taste in mouth are other common symptoms of gingivitis. In a more advanced stage you may also observe shifting and loose teeth, pus around your gums and teeth, receding gums, formation of pockets between teeth and gums.
Of course, if you visit your dentist regularly, he will recognize gingivitis at once, even if you don’t notice any symptoms. The dentist will examine if your gums are firm enough, and if they bleed or are swollen. He will also check if there isn’t too much space between your gums and teeth.
You shouldn’t postpone the visit at your dentist’s as he will also check if your teeth are properly aligned and if your teeth aren’t loose. He will also detect if any breakdown of bone around your teeth occurred. Your doctor will inform you if your gingivitis is in an early or advanced stage too.
How to Get Rid of Gingivitis
If you suspect that gingivitis has developed in your mouth, you should consult a doctor. There are, however, various methods which you can try at home. It’s always worth giving them a chance as they are cheap, natural, and safe. In many cases they may turn out to be very effective, especially if you combine them with a dental treatment, which your doctor will recommend you.
It’s probably the easiest, the cheapest and at the same time the most effective home remedy to gingivitis. Salt is a natural antiseptic with amazing antibacterial properties. It can successfully reduce swelling and inflammation of the gums as well as stop the growth of bacteria in your oral cavity.
It’s recommended to use salt not only when you suffer from gingivitis, but also when you want to prevent infections in oral cavity.
Salt is very easy to use. You can prepare your own mouthwash at home. All you need is a glass of warm water with ½ teaspoon of salt in it. Use the mixture to wash your mouth twice a day after washing your teeth. It should bring you immediate relief from swelling and inflammation.
Another option is to prepare a salt paste that you will apply on your gums. Just mix ½ teaspoon of salt with a little bit of mustard oil. It should have the texture of a thick paste. Massage your gums for around two minutes with the mixture. Wash off your oral cavity with warm water. If you do it regularly, twice or three times a day, you should see positive effects after a few days.
2. Oil Pulling
The method of oil pulling is an old Ayurvedic technique, which helps you to detoxify your oral cavity with the use of sesame or coconut oil. They have amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, which can successfully kill the bacteria that cause the development of gingivitis.
You just need to take one tablespoon of the chosen oil and hold it in your mouth for about fifteen minutes. You can’t swallow it, though, but just swish it in your mouth. After that time spit it out and rinse your mouth with water, clean your teeth and tongue thoroughly too.
The oil will eliminate the bacteria form your mouth and make your gums stronger and more resistant to plaque. However, you need to follow the procedure for at least once a month. Do it in the morning, before you brush your teeth and when your stomach is empty.
Curcumin, which is the main compound of turmeric, is a natural and very powerful antioxidant. Moreover, it also has strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. When applied on the gums, it will not only reduce the plaque and bacteria that built up in your mouth, but it will also reduce the swelling and pain.
Prepare a paste that consists of one teaspoon of turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon each of salt and mustard oil. Massage your gums with the mixture for about two minutes twice a day. Rinse it off with warm water.
You can also mix a tablespoon of turmeric powder with a little amount of water and a drop of vitamin E. Apply the mixture on your gums and wash it off after ten minutes. For satisfactory results it’s enough to do it just once a day.
Another option is to brush your teeth with turmeric powder mixed with a small amount of water. Use it the same way you use your toothpaste. However, use a soft-bristle toothbrush and clean not only your teeth, but gums as well. Do it twice a day and your gingivitis should reduce.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda acts like salt as it has wonderful antiseptic properties and it will be a natural protection from oral infections. What’s more, it can also control the amount of acid in your oral cavity, which may prevent other gums infections in the future.
Prepare a thick paste from ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and a little bit of water. Apply the mixture on your gums for two minutes and after that time rinse it off with warm water. Do it three times a week and gingivitis should be reduced.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera can fantastically soothe your swollen gums and bring immediate relief from pain if you’re suffering from it. What’s more, Aloe Vera can reduce bacteria and fungus as well.
You just need a fresh Aloe Vera leaf, which you have to cut to get some gel from it. Apply it on your gums and leave it for around ten minutes. After that time wash it off with cold water. If you do it a few times a day, you should notice a positive difference after a few days.
6. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is known for its wonderful antibacterial properties, it can also protect you from oral infections and help you if your gums are swollen because of gingivitis.
You can prepare a natural mouthwash from fresh lemon juice. Squeeze one lemon to get some juice and mix it with a small amount of water. Use it twice a day to rinse your oral cavity after you brush your teeth.
You can also mix some lemon juice with salt to obtain a thick paste. Massage your gums with the mixture for a few minutes and rinse it off with water. Follow the procedure at least twice a day.
Peppermint might be very useful in case your gingivitis is the cause of bad breath. Additionally, it can also kill the bacteria and act as a natural antiseptic. Simply use peppermint every day in various ways. Choose toothpaste that has a peppermint flavor or drink peppermint tea regularly. You can also wash your mouth with it.
If you need to freshen your mouth during the day, always keep a few leaves of fresh peppermint in your mouth and chew it throughout your day. It’s a much better choice that a chewing gum, which contains some artificial sweeteners.
8. Tea Tree Oil
A wonderful and natural remedy for gingivitis, which can even be recommended by your dentist. Tea tree oil will wonderfully reduce the inflammation of your gums, plus it acts as a natural antibiotic, which will bring immediate relief from irritation and swelling.
On the market you can find special toothpaste which contains tea tree oil. However, you can prepare it on your own. Just add a small amount of the oil to your regular toothpaste and use it daily.
You may have heard about a traditional way of using clove to bring relief from toothache. It’s not a myth as clove is actually a natural analgesic. What’s more, it is also a great antioxidant and it has strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
To get rid of gingivitis naturally, you can simply chew the clove throughout your day. It’s also possible to purchase clove oil, which you can rub into your inflamed gums and wash it off with water after a few minutes.
Even easier option is to add a few drops of clove oil to a cup of water and use the mixture as a natural mouthwash after your brush your teeth twice a day. Don’t use clove and clove oil if you take some blood thinning drugs. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women and small children.
10. Guava Leaves
Guava leaves are just perfect for treating gingivitis as they have wonderful antiplaque qualities. They can also serve as a natural painkiller, they can reduce the bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.
You can use either fresh guava leaves or a guava leaf extract. You can simply chew the leaves twice a day for a few minutes or grind them and add them to the toothpaste you use every day. If you have guava leaf extract, you may use it as a natural mouthwash.
If you want to get rid of gingivitis successfully, it’s worth combining natural remedies with over-the-counter solutions.
You can, for example, get a gel that contains hyaluronic acid. You probably associate this compound with skin care, but actually it can also promote the growth of new tissue and soothe wounds and cuts. You only have to apply some gel on your inflamed gums in the evening, after you brushed your teeth.
Corsodyl spray is another option, which might be especially helpful if due to gingivitis, brushing your teeth causes some pain. It will also bring you relief if you feel discomfort in your oral cavity. Plus, it will reduce the bacteria and plaque that accumulated in your mouth.
Buy a mouthwash that contains a substance known as hydrogen peroxide. It has strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which will soothe your inflamed gums and reduce swelling. However, it can make your teeth more sensitive, thus, use it maximum twice a week.
You should also include oral probiotics into your everyday diet as they will create a good environment in your mouth, which is not friendly for gingivitis bacteria. There are some studies which have proved that ubiquinone and coenzyme Q10 can help you treat gingivitis too, despite the fact that they are mainly used to cure congestive heart failure or diabetes.
Dental Solutions to Gingivitis
If you suffer from gingivitis, you shouldn’t rely only on home remedies only. Visit your dentist the moment you notice the first signs of gums inflammation as he can recommend you a few options that can quickly help you tackle the problem. He will also show you how to prevent the problem in the future.
If you tend to develop gingivitis, your doctor for sure will professionally clean your teeth twice a year. He will use a local anesthetic and remove the tartar and plaque from your teeth and gums. It’s absolutely painless so you don’t have to be afraid of the procedure.
Other options include scaling and root planing. They are very similar methods to professional cleaning as the plaque and tartar are scraped away from your gums and teeth. In case of root planing all the rough spots are also smoothed.
Gingivitis is a relatively mild form of the disease which can be cured quite easily. If it developed into periodontitis, it requires a more advanced treatment.
Your dentist may for example recommend you a pocket reduction or so called a flap surgery. The surgeon will first remove the plaque and tartar from your oral cavity and then he will reduce the space that formed between your gums and teeth. If any of your teeth are loose, he will stabilize them too.
In the most advanced stage of the disease it may also affect your bone and then a bone surgery might be recommended to you. The operation will give your bone a new base and your teeth will be stable again. All the holes will be removed and rough places will be smoothed. There is even an option of tissue regeneration during the surgery.
How Can You Prevent Gingivitis
The problem with gingivitis is that even if you managed to eliminate it, the condition likes coming back. Therefore, maintaining thorough oral hygiene should be your daily routine as it’s the best preventive measure you can take.
Use high quality toothpaste to brush your teeth carefully, at least twice a day. This way plaque and tartar won’t accumulate in your oral cavity. Don’t forget to floss your teeth once a day, but it should be followed by cleaning your mouth with a mouth wash as otherwise you will leave all the dirt from flossing in your mouth.
When brushing your teeth it’s better to use a toothbrush with soft bristle as it won’t irritate your gums. Also, remember to clean your tongue too and change your toothbrush every three months.
If gingivitis is a chronic condition for you, taking care of your teeth at home might be not enough. In such a case you can consider buying an oral irrigator. It’s a device which you attach to your shower head or a sink tap.
You use a stream of water which is under pressure to clean your oral cavity. It will simply flush all the bacteria or food pieces from your mouth. Various studies have shown that this method is the most effective when comes to gingivitis treatment and prevention. It not only cleans your mouth, but it also reduces inflammation and bleeding.
Another advantage of oral irrigators is that it only requires around 15 seconds every day to use it. There are various types of irrigators available on the market so for sure you will find the one which will adjust your needs.
Giving up smoking is another crucial preventive measure you should take. The studies have clearly shown that smokers are seven times more likely to get gingivitis than nonsmokers. What’s more, smokers also don’t respond to treatments as successfully as nonsmokers.
A stressful lifestyle is another surprising factor that may lead to gingivitis. Try to reduce stress in your everyday life as it will make your organism stronger and it will fight the infections more easily.
Include in your daily diet a lot of broccoli, citrus fruit, and potatoes as they are rich in vitamin E and are natural antioxidants, which will protect your oral cavity from gingivitis. Last but not least, remember about regular check-ups at your dentist as the earlier you will get a diagnose, the higher probability of a successful treatment.