Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is usually caused by bacteria that accumulate on the tooth surface during negligent oral hygiene and can lead to inflammatory processes in the gums.
Bacterial gum inflammation initially manifests itself as swollen and reddened gums. Later on, bleeding of the gums can occur even with light touches. Now at the latest, the symptoms should be taken seriously and treated.
If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into an inflammation of the periodontium, which can endanger the tooth population. With rapid treatment, gingivitis generally heals within a few weeks.
To treat gingivitis, any plaque or tartar is first removed. In addition, mouthrinses with bacteria-controlling active ingredients such as chlorhexidine are useful. Regular dental care plays a central role in the treatment and prevention of gingivitis.
Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is an inflammation of the gums in the course of which the gums redden, swell and loosen. Like periodontitis, gingivitis is one of the diseases of the periodontium.
Inflammation of the gums is usually caused by bacteria, which accumulate on the surface of the teeth when there is insufficient dental care and trigger inflammatory processes at the gum line.
Gum inflammation is one of the most common diseases of the periodontium. However, gingivitis and its symptoms are often not taken seriously. If left untreated, it can even endanger the dental population in the long term.
Gum inflammation (gingivitis) is usually caused by bacteria that accumulate on the tooth surface. If these bacteria are not removed by regular dental care, they can multiply and lead to plaque on the gumline and on the tooth surface. Such a bacterial film can develop within a few days. If the plaque mineralizes, so-called tartar forms. The bacteria that live in the plaque layer secrete substances that can lead to inflammatory processes at the gumline. In the course of this gum inflammation, the gums redden, swell and begin to bleed rapidly.
However, gingivitis can also be caused by mechanical irritations of the gums which do not involve bacterial infections.
In addition to a lack of dental hygiene, there are other circumstances that can promote the development of gingivitis, for example:
- Hormones (e.g. in diabetes mellitus, during pregnancy or puberty)
- Leukaemia (blood cancer)
- certain medicines for high blood pressure (calcium antagonists of the nifedipine type)
- long-term drug therapy for epilepsy
- Drugs to suppress the immune system in transplant patients
- vitamin C deficiency
- anabolic steroids
- too little saliva
- crowded teeth
- existing caries
An inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) first manifests itself in reddened and swollen gums. The gums no longer sit firmly between the interdental spaces, but loosen. Bleeding of the gums usually occurs later, even with light contact. Pain is rather rare.
Gum bleeding is rarely registered as a symptom of gingivitis by most people and its importance is underestimated. It is important to stop gum inflammation at an early stage in order to avoid consequential damage to the periodontium such as periodontitis.
To diagnose gingivitis, the dentist examines whether the gums have a healthy pale pink color and fill the interdental spaces or whether they are reddened and swollen at the edges of the teeth. It is also checked whether plaque is present and whether the gums begin to bleed easily. For this purpose, the dentist tests the strength of the gums with a probe.
To treat gingivitis, the first step is to remove existing plaque or tartar. In addition, in the case of gingivitis, mouth rinses with active ingredients (such as chlorhexidine) that reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth are usually used for a short period of time for treatment. The prerequisite, however, is that the person affected by gingivitis carries out regular and thorough dental care.
If gum inflammation does not heal despite these measures, it must be investigated whether other circumstances may hinder the healing process (possibly certain medicines or hormones).
If an inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is not treated, it can develop into a chronic inflammation of the gums after only a few days, which impairs the periodontium through a potentially subsequent periodontitis. Later on, gingivitis can even endanger the tooth population due to the loosening of the teeth.
With timely treatment and good dental care, gingivitis heals within a few weeks. Gum bleeding stops after only a few days.
If the cause of gingivitis is not bacterial colonisation of the teeth, but mechanical irritation, this usually heals again after a short time.
In order to prevent gingivitis, regular oral hygiene is a prerequisite. Brushing your teeth twice a day and cleaning the interdental spaces with dental floss or brushes once a day is generally sufficient. This prevents bacteria from adhering longer to the tooth surface and forming a plaque layer.
Daily dental care can also be supplemented with mouthwashes, which prevent plaque-forming bacteria from growing. However, mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine should not be used for longer than two to three weeks as they can lead to tooth discoloration and taste irritation.