what is gingivitis

How healthy are your gums? A fifth of people in France* are concerned about bleeding gums. Learning about gingivitis is a great place to start when it comes to gum health. In this article, you can learn more about the causes of gingivitis, common symptoms to look out for, and treatment options.

What is Gingivitis?

“Gingivitis” is the technical word for ‘inflamed gums’. Gum inflammation is the first indication of gum disease, but fortunately it is also easy to treat. Even though it is an ongoing condition, many people don’t know they have gingivitis because it can be quite mild. However, if gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into a more serious infection called periodontitis, which can eventually lead to tooth loss and damage to your jawbone.

Inflammation of the gums is a sign that it’s time to update your oral care regime and pay your dentist a visit.

What causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis care starts with understanding its causes. Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that forms on teeth every day. The good news is that plaque can be removed on a daily basis simply by brushing and flossing. However, if plaque is allowed to build up, it can lead to a bacterial infection, which is one of the most common causes of gum inflammation. The following factors may also cause gingivitis:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Some medications
  • Broken fillings
  • Pregnancy (due to hormonal changes)
  • Genetic predisposition
Woman with pain in her gums holding finger to mouth; Shutterstock ID 109517087

The earlier you can catch gingivitis, the easier it can be to treat it and get your gums looking and feeling healthy once again.

Common Gingivitis symptoms

Gum health is an easy way to keep track of your overall oral health. To start, it’s as simple as checking the colour of your gums! If you are concerned about the look or feel of your gums, we recommend you speak to your dentist, especially if you have some of the following symptoms:

  • Gum inflammation (gums are red, tender, and/or swollen)
  • Regular gum bleeding
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when you chew or as a result of cold food

If you experience any of the above symptoms, then these could be a warning sign of gingivitis. Even if you have bleeding gums when you brush or floss but feel no pain, you should still speak to your dentist. The earlier you can catch gingivitis, the easier it can be to treat it and get your gums looking and feeling healthy once again.

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How is Gingivitis treated?

It should come as no surprise that keeping up with your oral hygiene is a great place to start when treating gingivitis but being conscious of your general health, especially any continued smoking habits, can also play a part.

You should see your dentist for a regular assessment of your gum health. They may suggest deep cleaning to remove any plaque build-up or, if your gingivitis is more advanced, medications or procedures to start reversing the effects of inflamed gums.

Your dentist can recommend the best treatment for your condition as well as answer any remaining questions you might have. Remember, treating or preventing gingivitis could be as simple as practising good oral hygiene, using a gentle and mild toothpaste specially developed for people with gum problems, such as Zendium, or having a thorough clean by the dentist to remove any hardened plaque. You can learn even more about gum inflammation here.

*Based on research with 2,449 people, representative of the French population, about their oral hygiene. Research conducted by TNS in 2014.

  • The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any gum problems.

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