How to Stop Gingivitis in its Tracks

GingivitisBefore we can have a conversation about reversing gingivitis, it is extremely important to understand that there is a world of difference between gingivitis and periodontitis. 

  • Gingivitis is simply inflammation of the gums.  The margin of your gums near your teeth will appear slightly red and puffy.
  • Periodontitis, on the other hand, is inflammation and infection of ligament and bone surrounding the teeth and is preceded by gingivitis.  With periodontitis you will still have the inflammed gums of gingivitis (though it will likely be more severe), but you will also have the hallmark bone/attachment loss around teeth, which is something that is diagnosed by your dentist because they have special measuring tools.

Alleviating gingivitis is really simple, do a good job with your oral hygiene.  Gingivitis is caused by bacterial plaque, and if you do a good job of removing the plaque with proper hygiene the gingivitis will resolve.  However, it is far easier to simply maintain oral health in the first place because once your gums have been neglected to the point where there is an active disease process you’ll need extremely good hygiene to reverse the process.

Treating Gingivitis At Home

Here are some efficient tips that will help stop gingivitis in its tracks:

  • Use an electric toothbrush or manual toothbrush with proper technique.  You may think you are doing a good job brushing, but everyone can benefit from a review of the basics: Our guide to using a manual toothbrush
  • Invest in a Waterpik and learn to use it.  This will resolve gingival (gum) inflammation faster than anything else.  
  • Use an antiseptic mouthrinse.  These will help you reduce bacterial plaque to help you get your hygiene back under control; however, many rinses are acidic so be careful. I would use either Therabreath or ACT mouthwash, though you can use something stronger.
  • You can also take fish oil supplements.  There isn’t a bunch of data behind this approach yet, but the biochemical mechanism of how it works is sound and mores studies are being done.  Besides, there is nothing wrong with taking your vitamins and minerals.

You need to make sure you are treating the right problem.  If there is any concern that you might have something more than gingivitis or if the swollen gums and inflammation doesn’t resolve within 7-10 days of a revamped oral hygiene routine, go and see your dentist.

About the author

Scott Frey is a reknown Orthodontist, professional speaker, and founder of the More than Smiles Movement. Follow him on Twitter.

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