Gingivitis

Gingivitis is often recognised by bleeding gums whilst brushing your teeth. It is not normally a cause of tooth pain but instead gum pain. The gums are very tender in this condition because they are inflamed due to bacteria around the gum line. The best solution is to brush the gums using the correct technique (circular motion aiming at the gum line) and use dental floss to remove the bacteria between the teeth (interdental cleaning). You should see a dentist to accurately diagnosis the gum pain.

Advice: If you have gingivitis and you follow a strict brushing and interdental cleaning protocol, the gums will heal over the next few weeks. You will still require professional cleaning to remove all the bacteria as there is a limit on the amount of cleaning that is possible by yourself at home and some of the areas where plaque accumulates are very difficult for your toothbrush or floss to reach.

Gingivitis FAQs

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums due to plaque bacteria.

Why are my gums bleeding?

Plaque accumulates around the teeth and rests on the gums. The bacteria found within plaque causes the gums to swell and bleed. It is often worse in the morning since the plaque has had time to accumulate throughout the night.

What are the main signs and symptoms of gingivitis?

You normally see that your gums are red as opposed to pink and they will bleed easily. This can be after brushing or sometimes occur spontaneously.

What is the treatment for gingivitis?

The plaque needs to be removed effectively. You should visit your dentist or hygienist so that they can show you how to effectively remove the plaque and give you a suitable regime. Also professional cleaning will often need to be done to remove the hard plaque (calculus or tartar) that is contributing to the bleeding.

Can gingivitis be prevented?

Gingivitis can be prevented by a good oral hygiene regime and regular visits for professional cleaning. You should visit a dental practice where the correct regime can be recommended.

Is gingivitis the same as gum disease?

Yes, it is a type of gum disease. It is a reversible disease which means it can be fixed with no permanent damage.

Can gingivitis lead to irreversible periodontal disease?

If the gingivitis is not cured and continues to progress, periodontal disease will occur. This is more serious than gingivitis where the supporting bone can be affected.

My gums have got worse since I have been pregnant, why?

During pregnancy the hormone balance in your body changes and this can cause bleeding gums. They can bleed more easily and sometimes you can find that gingivitis gets worse.

It is very important that whilst you are pregnant you are cleaning your teeth thoroughly. Also visit your dentist or hygienist regularly for professional cleaning.

Do any of my medical conditions affect my gums?

Some medical conditions can have implications on your gum health. If you are concerned about any medications that you are taking affecting your gum health you should visit your dentist who can give you the correct advice.