Information on Wikipedia
Inflammation of the gum tissue is a non-destructive disease that occurs around the teeth. The most common form of gingivitis, and the most common form of periodontal disease overall, is in response to bacterial biofilms (also called plaque) that is attached to tooth surfaces, termed plaque-induced gingivitis.
While some cases of gingivitis never progress to periodontitis, data indicates that periodontitis is always preceded by gingivitis.
Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene; however, without treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, in which the inflammation of the gums results in tissue destruction and bone resorption around the teeth. Periodontitis can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
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)
Additionally, the stippling that normally exists in the gum tissue of some individuals will often disappear and the gums may appear shiny when the gum tissue becomes swollen and stretched over the inflamed underlying connective tissue. The accumulation may also emit an unpleasant odor. When the gingiva are swollen, the epithelial lining of the gingival crevice becomes ulcerated and the gums will bleed more easily with even gentle brushing, and especially when flossing.
Risk factors associated with gingivitis include the following:
- Low dental care utilization (fear, financial stresses, etc.)
- Poor oral hygiene
- Overly aggressive oral hygiene such as brushing with stiff bristles
- Mouth-breathing during sleep
- Medications that dry the mouth
- Cigarette smoking
- Genetic factors
- Pre-existing conditions
Gingivitis before (top) and after (bottom) a thorough mechanical debridement of the teeth.
Analgesic and antiseptic gum paint with applicator buds used in treatment of gingivitis
The focus of treatment is to remove plaque. Therapy is aimed at the reduction of oral bacteria and may take the form of regular periodic visits to a dental professional together with adequate oral hygiene home care. Thus, several of the methods used in the prevention of gingivitis can also be used for the treatment of manifest gingivitis, such as scaling, root planing, curettage, mouth washes containing chlorhexidine or hydrogen peroxide, and flossing. Interdental brushes also help remove any causative agents.
Gingivitis can be prevented through regular oral hygiene that includes daily brushing and flossing. Hydrogen peroxide, saline, alcohol or chlorhexidine mouth washes may also be employed. In a 2004 clinical study, the beneficial effect of hydrogen peroxide on gingivitis has been highlighted.
Rigorous plaque control programs along with periodontal scaling and curettage also have proved to be helpful, although according to the American Dental Association, periodontal scaling and root planing are considered as a treatment for periodontal disease, not as a preventive treatment for periodontal disease. In a 1997 review of effectiveness data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found clear evidence showing that toothpaste containing triclosan was effective in preventing gingivitis.
Powered toothbrushes work better than manual toothbrushes in reducing the disease.
The bacteria that causes gingivitis can be controlled by using an oral irrigator daily with a mouthwash containing an antibiotic. Either amoxicillin, cephalexin, or minocycline in 16 ounces of a non-alcoholic fluoride mouthwash is an effective mixture.
Overall, intensive oral hygiene care has been shown to improve gingival health in individuals with well-controlled type 2 diabetes. Periodontal destruction is also slowed down due to the extensive oral care. Intensive oral hygiene care (oral health education plus supra-gingival scaling) without any periodontal therapy improves gingival health, and may prevent progression of gingivitis in well-controlled diabetes.