Gingivitis: What’s eating at your gums?

The most common periodontal disease known the human race is what’s referred to as Gingivitis.  Of this disease, the most common cause of gingivitis is plaque that adheres to the surface of teeth.  It is most commonly accompanied by red or swollen gums, and often times the person suffering from gingivitis will notice blood present after brushing their teeth.  This is no cause for alarm though – it is a very common disease with easy solutions to rid yourself of it!

What causes gingivitis?

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene.  This can be the lack of brushing teeth on a regular basis, but most commonly it is due to not properly flossing teeth regularly.  Getting to the cracks and crevasses in-between teeth can serve as a daunting task,

unless tooth floss is utilized.  

While gingivitis itself is no cause for immediate alarm, if it is left unchecked, it can easily result in periodontitis, which eventually will lead to tissue distraction and ultimately, tooth loss. It has been noted and recorded that periodontitis is ALWAYS preceded by gingivitis.  So, once the signs and symptoms of gingivitis are noticed, it is imperative that you deal with it

before it progresses further.

Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis

There are several tell-tale signs associated with gingivitis, and realizing you are being affected by the disease should not be difficult to diagnose.  The most common sign of this disease is swollen, red or purple looking gums.  The redness is especially present right along the tooth- gum line. Additionally, gums may be painful or tender to the touch, causing discomfort while eating or drinking cold fluids.  Finally, the individual experiencing this disease may notice blood present after a vigorous brushing of his or her teeth.  Often times the bleeding, swollen and red gums are also accompanied with bad breath – also referred to as halitosis.  This is especially true when flossing gums for the first time in a while. The risks associated with this disease are relatively low, but without proper attention and care, one might eventually lose teeth as a result.  Gingivitis is also more commonplace with those who smoke or dip tobacco, and stress can often help trigger this disease.


Due to the low risk factor associated with this disease, gingivitis is also easily treated – if caught early enough.  Many people will recognize the name Listerine as a brand associated with gingivitis.  This over the counter antiseptic will easily help destroy the bacteria that causes this disease and, with regular brushing and flossing, will usually clear up gingivitis within 2 weeks of initial treatment.  If conditions persist, it is recommended that you consult your dentist so as to not let it evolve in to periodontitis.  Hydrogen Peroxide is also a great alternative to any type of oral antiseptic and will accomplish the same results, often at a fraction of the cost.

Should your condition worsen into periodontist, you are in for a bit more of an uncomfortable experience.  Patients who allow gingivitis to progress to this disease will require a deep gum tissue cleaning, which can take hours and is often times very uncomfortable.  It is necessary to clean out all of the bacteria that causes this disease, and that can require digging deep between the gum line and the root of a tooth.  Many people report that their gums, teeth and mouth in general will be sore for days after a cleaning of this sort.  My advice – notice the signs of gingivitis early and ensure that you take the necessary steps to cure it before it progresses into a much more serious condition.

This article was written by Andrew Thompson.  Andrew is currently studying dentistry at the new, UCF College of Medicine in Orlando, FL.  As such, Andrew spends his free time shadowing the dentists at Orlando Smiles Inc.  Andrew also enjoys to take what he has learned by shadowing these great dentists and create blog posts to educate others.