How To Treat Gingivitis And Why It’s Important To Do So
Did you know that gingivitis is surprisingly common? In fact there’s a good chance you’ve either had it in the past, or are currently showing signs of gingivitis. Yet, because of the fact that symptoms are generally painless and mild, it often gets ignored. The issue with this strategy is that gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease and if left untreated, it can morph into full blown periodontal disease. Once that happens it can cause permanent long-term damage to teeth. That’s the bad news….
The good news is that gingivitis is totally and easily reversible if caught early enough! But before we delve into how to get rid of gingivitis, it’s worth taking a closer look at why it occurs…
So what is gingivitis anyway?
Gingivitis is in essence an inflammation of the gums (gingiva) and is caused by plaque. Plaque itself is a nasty, sticky, colourless, concoction consisting of leftover food particles, saliva and billions of bacteria. In fact, research shows that over 20 billion microbes of bacteria (around 500-650 different species) are contained in plaque and this number is quintupled (multiplied by 5) every 24 hours.
When plaque isn’t removed within 24 hours by normal brushing, it hardens into something known as calculus (more commonly known as tartar). As plaque/tartar sits on the tooth it releases harmful toxins that irritate the gums, hence the reason why early signs of gum disease are red or swollen gums that bleed when brushed.
So now we know what causes gingivitis and why it occurs, let’s take a look at how to treat gingivitis fast…
Many people are taken aback when they visit the dentist and are told that they have gingivitis. After all, as far as they’re concerned they brush and floss regularly. The issue is that gingivitis can also be attributed to other factors such as medical conditions, lifestyle habits such as smoking and… there are even suggestions to say that genetics play a part in the problem. Although the main culprit is usually insufficient brushing habits.
Whatever the causes, gingivitis treatment is a two step process involving both chairside and home care.
Chairside gingivitis treatment
The key aspect of any treatment for gingivitis is the removal of any existing plaque/tarter which has built up in layers on and around the teeth. Because calculus (tartar) is usually too hard to be removed by normal brushing, this is carried out chair-side. It’s done using deep cleaning methods such as scaling and root planing and can be carried out under a local anaesthetic if patient’s prefer, so it’s gentle and pain-free . Once your mouth is plaque/tartar free, your dentist may suggest using an antibacterial mouthwash.
Best gingivitis treatment at home
Once teeth are plaque/tarter free, the final and most important stage is to continue with a good standard of oral hygiene. This entails thorough and regular brushing and flossing to prevent any future plaque build up.
Here are some top tips for improving your ‘at home’ technique…
Brushing – Hold the brush like you would a pen between thumb and forefinger and tilt it to a 45° angle towards your gum. Use short circular motions and don’t apply too much pressure. Pay attention to the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Brush for 3 minutes twice daily, but preferably after mealtimes.
Flossing – Take around 45cms of floss and wind it around your middle finger. Then wind a small section of that around the middle finger of your other hand. Every time you move from tooth to tooth unwind a section of fresh floss. Don’t forget to slide the floss up and down the length of each tooth and make a ‘C’ shape curve movement along the gum.
So how long to reverse gingivitis?
A typical course of treatment takes somewhere between 10-14 days to get your gums back to looking healthy, but in some cases it may take longer depending on circumstances. However it’s worth remembering that even after treatment ,conditions can exist for several days until any irritation abates. If signs of gingivitis are still present after 2-3 weeks then contact your dentist.
if you’re seeking advice on how to treat gingivitis, or simply feel that it’s about time you had a dental check-up, then we’d like to welcome you to the Smile Gallery Dental Clinic. As a leading dental practice in Box Hill we’re dedicated to preserving your smile. So why not give us a call today.