The symptoms and signs of Gingivitis are as under.
- Red gums
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Tender gums
- Bad breath
- Separation of gum from teeth
Since gingivitis is not associated with pain it might exist without the person knowing it. You might realize that there is something wrong only when you find that while brushing blood comes on the toothbrush and also the gum starts bleeding when you apply some pressure on the gums
You can identify healthy gums by checking whether they are firm and also pink in color. On the other hand if you have gingivitis, your gums will be puffy, dusky red and bleed easily. The damage done from gingivitis can be reversed provided you take early remedial actions.
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Gingivitis can occur due to reasons other than poor oral hygiene and these are puberty, pregnancy, diabetes, leukemia, malnutrition, scurvy, pellagra and poorly fitted dentures, teeth caps, tooth filling and dental plate.
Gingivitis normally starts with plaque that is a sticky and invisible film of bacteria. Your food contains starches and sugars and they interact with bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. Although you can remove plaque by brushing, it forms again within a day. If you allow plaque to stay on your teeth more number of days they harden and becomes tartar/ calculus. Tartar is very hard and cannot be cleaned by brushing and flossing and requires professional cleaning by dentist. If the plaque and tartar continue in your teeth for a longer period, your gums swell and start bleeding.
It is simple to diagnose gingivitis in a person and this is based on the symptoms as described by you and also physical examination of your mouth and tongue. In addition buildup of plaque and tartar as well as bleeding will be checked by your dentist. In addition, your dentist might call for additional tests to find out any other reason for gingivitis.
The gingivitis can be treated by maintaining dental hygiene, brushing and flossing teeth regularly, periodical dental checkups/ cleaning by a dentist, rinsing mouth with anti-septic mouth rinse and fixing dental restorations. In addition lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and having a low sugar and well balanced diet will keep the gingivitis away from you.
The first step in your treatment of gingivitis is thorough cleaning your teeth which includes scaling wherein all traces of plaque and tartar are removed. For people having sensitive gums and high buildup up of tartar and plaque the cleaning process is very uncomfortable. In order to clear the bacteria you might be asked to use an antiseptic mouth rinse. You will also be taught the correct brushing and flossing techniques. You have to practice good oral hygiene for life so that your gum problems don't return.
If you don’t treat gingivitis at the right time it will progress to periodontitis which is a much more serious form of gum disease. You are susceptible for tooth loss because of periodontitis; also it might cause heart attack and stroke. The probability of giving birth to premature babies is high in women affected by periodontitis.