Gingivitis, also known as gum disease, is regarded as inflammation that develops around the tissues that surround and support the teeth. It is commonly a result of poor dental hygiene and the condition varies widely in its severity.
Signs Of Gingivitis
You might have gingivitis if you have one more of these symptoms:
- Very red and swollen gums that tend to bleed easily when you brush or floss
- A bad taste in your mouth
- White spots on your gums
- Your gums look like they are pulling away from your teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Your teeth don’t seem to fit together the same way that they used to or you see spaces opening up between teeth
- You partial dentures don’t fit as well as they used to
The Beginning Stages Of Gingivitis
The onset of gingivitis occurs when pieces of food mixed with saliva and bacteria form plaque. When brushing does not remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth it becomes mineralized and forms calculus, a very hard substance that can only be removed with professional cleaning.
Dental plaque and tartar are both full of bacteria that will begin to irritate gums and cause gingivitis if not removed. If gingivitis is left untreated, it will move from the gums into the bone and develop into a condition known as periodontitis. If the bone becomes infected it will actually pull away from the teeth and form pockets where plaque and bacteria will settle and it becomes very difficult to remove, leading to an increased bone loss. Advanced stages of periodontitis will result in tissue and bone loss that leads to teeth falling out. This is why it is such a good idea to get on top of gingivitis before it occurs and certainly as soon as you realize this is a problem.
What Causes Gum Disease?
As mentioned, gum disease is generally the result of poor hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque to remain on the teeth and infected gums. However, some people are at a greater risk than others of developing this condition. common risk factors include:
- Smoking of chewing tobacco – both of these do not allow gum tissue to heal.
- Hormonal changes – these could be associated with puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. An increase in hormones makes blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacteria.
- Crooked teeth – the more crooked your teeth are, the more places there are for plaque and calculus to develop and the harder it is to keep teeth clean.
- Mouth breathing – if you sleep with our mouth open, gums can become irritated and inflamed, making them more susceptible to gingivitis.
- Bad diet – a diet high in sugar and low in water increases plaque development. In addition, if you are low in nutrients such as vitamin C, gums will not heal as easily.
- Stress – if you are in a state of chronic stress, your immune system will not be able to keep a bacterial invasion away.
- Cancer – both cancer and cancer treatments lower the body’s defense and increase the risk of gingivitis.
- Diabetes – people with diabetes have impaired circulation that reduces the ability of gums to heal.
What’s Bad Breath Have To Do With Gingivitis?
If you suffer from bad breath or halitosis, it may be likely that you also have gum disease. Bacteria normally present in the mouth break down the plaque and tartar and release chemicals that have a really strong odor and this causes bad breath. Bad breath is also common when plaque builds up on the tongue. Once you visit the dentist and have the build-up removed the odor should begin to go away although it does take some time for this to happen.
Bad breath could also be caused by other issues such as partially erupted wisdom teeth a dry mouth, post nasal drip infections in the lungs or throat smoking digestive problems, diabetes and tonsil stones.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
It is important that you get to the dentist quickly if you suspect that you might have gingivitis. Early detection of gum disease will help for a full recovery. When you visit the dentist a number of things will be done in order to diagnose your condition including:
- Gum measurements: Measurements of the depths of pockets around your teeth will be taken. If your teeth are healthy the pockets will measure 1mm – 3mm deep. If the pockets are larger then it is likely that you have gum disease.
- Gum check: A thorough check of your gums will be done to check for redness inflammation sensitivity and bleeding.
- X-rays: X-rays will show if the bone has been impacted due to periodontal disease.
- Sensitive teeth examination: If your teeth have become sensitive around the gums that may indicate that they are receding.
Home Remedies For Gingivitis
As mentioned earlier, the degree in the severity of gingivitis varies from person to person. The goal of home remedies is to alleviate mild to moderate gingivitis and to develop a routine that keeps the condition from reoccurring. If you are already in the advanced stages of periodontal disease you will need to see a specialist to deal with this condition.
Here are some of the most popular home remedies for gingivitis.
1. Hydrogen Peroxide:
Hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial substance that can deep clean and protect your teeth and gives them a natural white shine. Hydrogen peroxide will quickly get to work by wiping out any bad bacteria in the mouth leading to gum disease. To use hydrogen peroxide add a few tablespoons of 3% solution to lukewarm water. Swish the substance around in your mouth for about a minute and spit it out. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with filtered water. Repeat this procedure on a weekly basis to keep bad bacteria from building up.
2. Aloe Vera Mouthwash:
Research has found that aloe vera is equally as effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis as a very potent antibacterial skin wash that is used before surgery. There’s no need to dilute the aloe vera juice before use and the only thing you need to do is to make sure that you use 100% pure aloe vera juice.
How To Use It:
- Take a small drink of aloe vera juice and swish it around in your mouth for about 30 seconds.
- Spit out the juice.
- Rinse your mouth with filtered water.
- Repeat this two to three times a day.
Caution: Do not use this method if you are allergic to aloe vera.
3. Cranberry Juice:
Often considered one of the best home remedies for gum disease, cranberry juice is loaded with vitamin C. Drinking 100% pure cranberry juice several times a week can help keep inflammation down and suppress bad bacteria. When you take the first few sips of cranberry juice, hold it in your mouth for about a minute, swishing it around. Spit this juice out and drink the rest normally.
4. Coconut Oil Pulling:
Coconut oil is loaded with lauric acid which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, in fact, a study found that using coconut oil daily in oil pulling can significantly reduce the buildup of plaque and the advance of gingivitis. In addition, coconut oil pulling can also freshen your breath, relieve headaches and tension, clear your sinuses and whiten teeth.
How To Oil Pull
- Always oil pull first thing in the morning before you have had anything to eat or drink.
- Put 2 teaspoons of fractionated organic coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish the oil around in your mouth for about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let the oil come in contact with the back of your throat.
- Rinse mouth with filtered water.
- Brush your teeth how you would normally.
Oil pulling removes toxins and bacteria from the tissues in the mouth so it is very important that you be careful not to swallow any of the oil.
5. Sage mouthwash:
According to research sage mouthwash can significantly reduce the number of bacteria that can cause dental plaque leading to gum disease. Sage mouthwash is easy to make at home and has powerful nutrients including anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and combat infection.
How To Make It
- Boil 2 cups of filtered water.
- Add 2 tablespoons of fresh sage or 1 teaspoon of dried sage to the water.
- Simmer this for 10 minutes, strain and let the water cool.
- Use the solution to rinse your mouth three times a day and after that on a weekly basis to keep your mouth fresh and clean.
Although it seems like a really simple home remedy, research shows that rinsing with salt water can help heal inflamed and infected gums and ease gingivitis. This is because salt is a natural disinfectant that helps the body heal itself. Saltwater eases the pain, removes bacteria and particles of food and eliminates bad breath.
How To Use It
- Add 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt to a glass of lukewarm filtered water. Stir well.
- Swish the sea salt solution in your mouth for about 20 seconds and spit out.
- Repeat this two to three times a day until your condition improves.
Caution: Long-term use of salt water may cause damage to tooth enamel.
Although garlic may not make your breath smell great it can help to treat gum disease. Garlic is loaded with antibacterial and antiseptic properties and it can be used just like a toothpaste.
How To Use It
- Combine a few cloves of garlic with a tablespoon of water and add to your blender. Blend well.
- Apply the mixture to your gums and brush your teeth as normal. Be sure not to swallow any of the garlic.
- Rinse your mouth out to remove the remaining garlic and brush your teeth again.
- Repeat this process several times a week to reduce bacteria and inflammation.
Cloves have powerful antiviral and antioxidant properties and have long been known to help ease the oral pain. Several studies indicate that cloves may help with the reduction of plaque and inflammation.
How To Use It
- Powder one teaspoon of cloves. Either in a spice blender or pestle and mortar.
- Moisten a cotton ball and dip it into the powdered cloves. Try to get as much on the cotton ball as you can.
- Rub the clove covered cotton ball gently onto your gums.
- Allow the clothes to sit on your gums for about 60 seconds.
- Swish some filtered water in your mouth to collect all of the cloves and spit out the water.
Related Reading: 20 Uses For Cloves For Home, Health & Beauty
It is a well-known fact that turmeric has powerful antifungal and antimicrobial properties that can help reduce gum bleeding and inflammation along with discomfort. Studies show that turmeric paste can effectively prevent the buildup of plaque and gingivitis due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties.
How To Use It
- Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly.
- Apply turmeric paste to your gums and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Wash your mouth out with filtered water, and spit it out.
- Repeat this process two times a day until symptoms go away.
Prevention Is Always Best
Of course, when it comes to gingivitis, prevention is always best. Here are a few tips that may prevent you from developing gum disease:
- Brush regularly – At least after each meal. Don’t forget your tongue where bacteria like to gather and breed. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean sensitive gums.
- Floss – Flossing is especially important if your teeth are close together. Use floss to remove food and debris from between teeth. This reduces bacteria buildup.
- Diet – Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh food. Limit refined sugar, especially sugary drinks.
- Dentist – Visit your dentist for cleaning regularly.