Gingivitis is a term used to describe non-destructive periodontal disease.  The most common form of gingivitis is in response to bacterial biofilms (also called plaque) adherent to tooth surfaces, termed plaque-induced gingivitis, and is the most common form of periodontal disease. In the absence of treatment, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, which is a destructive form of periodontal disease. Besides plaque, there are other factors which can cause gingivitis:

  • Taking certain medication such as antiepileptic and immunosuppressive drugs.
  • A badly adapted filling or crown.
  • Systematic diseases such as diabetes, leukemia or AIDS.
  • Hormonal changes in the blood which can occur during pregnancy for instance.

The symptoms of gingivitis are somewhat non-specific and manifest in the gum tissue as the classic signs of inflammation. The gums could be swollen, bright red or purple or the gums can be sensitive to touch. If the gingivitis is not severe then rinsing your mouth with an anti-bacterial solution such as saline may be sufficient. However if the condition is fairly advanced a gingivectomy may be required which is a kind of surgery which removes any excess gum. If there appear to be pockets in the gums then periodontitis must be recognised and a curretage required. Prevention is the best combattant against gingivitis. Regular brushing and flossing is vital and visits to the dentist for scaling which at the rate of twice a year can remove plaque as quickly as it forms.

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