Periodontal (gum) disease, affects almost half of Americans aged 30 and older.
Mild gum disease affects 9% of these people, while 8.5% suffer from severe gum disease.
Either way, all types of untreated gum disease can lead to tooth and even jawbone loss. More than that, gum disease has also shown a strong connection to chronic diseases. For instance, people with periodontitis have a 22% higher risk of hypertension.
This is why you need to know what causes gum diseases and how to get rid of gingivitis. By treating gingivitis early on, you can keep it from turning into a more severe case of gum disease.
Ready to make your gums healthy and disease-free? Then let’s dive right into it!
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gingiva, the part of the gums that surround the base of the teeth. It’s the earliest stage of gum or periodontal disease.
Aside from causing swelling, gingivitis also makes the gums prone to bleeding. You may also notice tenderness or soreness in the affected area. It’s also possible that your tooth pain is actually due to swollen, irritated gums.
Why You Should Never Dismiss Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a non-destructive type of gum disease, but it can lead to severely infected gums. Untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, which is the more severe form of gum disease.
Periodontitis damages gum tissues, which can then cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. Receding gums will no longer be able to support the teeth they hold, so the teeth can become loose. This can then increase their risk of falling out and becoming permanently lost.
The last thing you want is to be one of the 178 million Americans who are missing at least one tooth. That’s why you should have your gums checked by your dentist as soon as you notice the signs of gingivitis.
Dental Plaque: The Primary Cause of Gingivitis
The mouth is home to over 700 species of bacteria, collectively known as “oral microflora”. Many are harmless, while others trigger the production of saliva for proper digestion. Proper levels of saliva also help prevent plaque from building on the teeth surfaces.
The rest of these microorganisms, however, are responsible for creating dental plaque. This is the sticky, slimy, clear film that forms on teeth surfaces, between the teeth, and below the gum line.
Dental plaque contains millions of bacteria that attack the teeth, causing dental decay. These tiny organisms also irritate the gum, which then leads to redness and swelling.
Non-Plaque Causes of Gingivitis
Viral infections can also trigger the development of gingivitis. These include at least 25 of the 100 identified human papillomaviruses (HPV).
Fungi, autoimmune diseases, injuries, and vitamin C deficiencies can also cause gingivitis.
How to Get Rid of Gingivitis: Home Remedies You Can Try
Brushing and flossing more frequently can help clear the early signs of gingivitis. Rinsing with salt water may also help alleviate swelling and pain.
Twice a Day Brushing for at Least 2 Minutes
In its earliest phase, you can reverse gingivitis by preventing more plaque formation. You can do this by ensuring that you brush your teeth at least twice a day or after every meal. Keep in mind that plaque becomes detectable on undisturbed teeth in as short as 12 hours.
You should also brush for at least 2 whole minutes. Researchers found that this removes 26% more plaque than brushing for only 45 seconds.
Don’t skip flossing, and make sure you do this before you brush your teeth. This way, you can brush away and remove the plaque and food debris lifted by the floss.
Continue this oral hygiene routine even after your swollen gums heal. This is, after all, one of the best ways to prevent plaque from forming in the first place. By keeping plaque away, you’re also reducing your risks of tooth decay and gum disease.
Rinse With Salt Water
Researchers found that a saltwater rinse containing 0.9% to 1.8% of sodium chloride helps heal the gums. Salt has disinfectant properties, so it helps kill bad bacteria in the mouth. It may also ease swelling and pain in infected gums.
You can make your own saltwater mouthwash by adding 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt to a glass full of lukewarm water. Stir this well until the salt completely dissolves. Gargle for at least 30 seconds before spitting the water out.
Do this two to three times a day for the best results.
Note though, that this may only work on newly-developed gingivitis. If you suffer from more severe symptoms, visit a Chattanooga periodontist ASAP. You may already be dealing with a more advanced case of gum disease.
When to Seek Professional Gingivitis Treatment
If your symptoms don’t clear with the above home remedies, don’t delay visiting the dentist. You should also see a periodontist if you have severe tooth pain or if your gums bleed a lot. Do the same if your swollen gums have already made your cheeks puff out.
These signs often indicate moderate to severe gum disease. However, it’s still possible that you only have an aggravated case of gingivitis. Either way, prompt periodontics treatments can prevent the disease from worsening.
The sooner your dentist treats your gum disease, the higher your chances for a full recovery. Besides, you don’t want your gingivitis to progress and make you lose your permanent tooth.
Free Your Gums from Gingivitis Now
There you have it, your complete guide on what causes gum disease. Now that you know what these are, it’s best to start following our tips on how to get rid of gingivitis. The earlier you remove the traces of the disease, the sooner you can say goodbye to painful and swollen gums.
If you think you have periodontal disease, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us now. Our dental team here in Chattanooga will be more than happy to address your gum concerns.