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What Causes Gingivitis?


Gingivitis is a disease that can inflame the gums and causes bad breath. According to the Mayo Clinic,

“Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It's important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.”

Find out what causes it, how to know if you have it and what to do to get rid of gingivitis.

Causes of Gingivitis

The most common cause of gingivitis is failing to brush regularly (twice a day) and not brushing for the recommended amount of time (two minutes). Some people also suffer from gingivitis because they don’t brush, floss or rinse their teeth after meals. Food particles can attract bacteria in between teeth and on the gum line. When this happens, plaque will form – and eventually turn into tartar buildup.

This tartar can create pockets between the teeth and gums and erode the teeth. The gums may bleed, and blood deposits underneath the gum line can cause bad breath.

A list of the most common causes of gingivitis include:

- Poor brushing and hygiene

- Poor brushing technique

- Failing to floss

- Plaque deposits near the gum line

- Tartar buildup due to an excess amount of plaque


Some people are more prone to gingivitis than others. Some of the risk factors that can increase the likelihood of gingivitis include:

- Smoking

- Genetics

- Age

- Vitamin C deficiency

- Ill-fitting hardware, dentures or braces

- Hormonal fluctuations

- Eating certain foods


Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis can take a few days, weeks or months to develop. Yet once it sets in, most patients can immediately tell that they have a gum disease. Some of the most uncomfortable symptoms of gingivitis include swollen, red gums and mouth pain. Other symptoms may include bad breath, tartar buildup near the gum line and receding gums.


Treatment Options for Gingivitis

Luckily, there are plenty of treatment options for gingivitis. Those who suffer from this disease can halt it and sometimes even reverse it.

Before you do anything else, you should always visit your dentist before trying to treat your gingivitis yourself. Your dentist will perform a full cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar build up on the surface and may even suggest a deep-scale gum cleaning to remove the tartar buildup from underneath the gum line. This can also help to stop any bone damage.

After your cleaning, you’ll want to maintain your gums and teeth to ensure the gingivitis doesn’t return. You should continue to brush two times a day for two minutes each time. Remove any food particles from your mouth after you eat by brushing, chewing sugar free gum or rinsing your mouth out with water.

Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash approved by the American Dental Association. Floss your teeth after you brush them.

If you can keep your mouth healthy and visit your dentist every six months, you shouldn’t experience any lingering problems with gingivitis. Though it’s an uncomfortable disease that’s both painful and slightly embarrassing, you can keep your mouth gingivitis-free by giving your gums a little bit of extra care every day.


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