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Tracing the Basics of Gingivitis

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If you are experiencing sensitivity and pain in your gums and teeth, you need to see a dentist before it is too late. Your dentist will probably diagnose you with gingivitis. The following is a look at what gingivitis is all about.

What is Gingivitis?

This is an infection of your gums which if left untreated could lead to tooth loss.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is mainly caused by poor oral hygiene which encourages the formation of plaque. This is an invisible film consisting of bacteria. It forms when starches and sugars found in food combine with bacteria in your mouth. Plaque should be removed daily through brushing and flossing since it reforms within 24 hours.

When plaque lingers on your teeth for more than three days, it hardens under your gum line to form tartar. This formation develops from your saliva's mineral content. Tartar makes it hard to remove plaque by creating a protective covering for bacteria. Tartar cannot be removed through brushing or flossing, you require dental cleaning to get rid of it.

When you allow plaque and tartar to go untreated, they cause irritation to the gingival- the area of your gum below your teeth. In a short time, your gums begin to swell and bleed easily. You may also experience tooth decay.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gums that have receded or pulled away from your teeth making your teeth appear longer than usual
  • Formation of pus between the gums and teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bad breadth

Risk Factors

  • Diabetes
  • Old age
  • Tobacco use
  • Hormonal changes like the ones experienced during pregnancy or when using birth control pills
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor oral habits

How is it Diagnosed?

Your gums will be examined using a small ruler to check for inflammation. This ruler measures pockets on your teeth. The normal depth should be 1-3 millimeters, if it exceeds this then you probably have gingivitis. Your dentist may take X-rays to determine whether there has been bone loss.


To treat gingivitis, you need to engage in proper oral hygiene- regular brushing and flossing of teeth. You also need to reduce smoking. Your dentist will also perform any of a number of cleaning procedures.

Cleaning procedures

  • Root planing- this procedure removes infected parts of your tooth and smooths rough spots.
  • Scaling- This gets rid of tartar above and below your gum line.


Your dentist may give you medication to treat gingivitis. These include:

  • Antibiotic mouthwash- contains chlorhexidine used for disinfecting your mouth
  • Antiseptic chips- contain chlorhexidine that is inserted in the gum pockets after a root planing procedure
  • Oral antibiotics- treats persistent gum infections


Grafts- tissue and bone grafts are used when your teeth and jaw have been severely damaged.

Flap surgery- is a treatment used to lift back the gums in order to remove plaque.


For more information, check out dentists such as 1800 4 Teeth Dentists