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September 26, 2023 4 min read
Did you know that you can develop a gum disease called gingivitis when your gums get infected?
The pink part around your teeth; that's your gum. Gingivitis occurs when the bacteria in your mouth build up and forms a sticky layer on your teeth called plaque, capable of infecting the gum. When the gum gets infected, it often becomes a deeper shade of red, feels tender when you touch them, and bleeds when you brush or floss your teeth.
The good news is that gingivitis is only the early stage of gum disease. Hence, you can treat it using various gum disease treatments once you start experiencing the symptoms. Let's look at some ways to combat gum diseases at home and with professional help.
Gum disease symptoms vary for every individual. Some may have mild signs or no symptoms. Hence, they may not realize quickly they have gum disease. Regardless, the key to diagnosing gum disease is to pay attention to your body. You may notice signs as mild as:
Although these symptoms might seem mild, getting immediate treatment will ensure your gum does not deteriorate further and impact your oral health. On the flip side, visiting a dental professional may be a safe way to diagnose gum diseases. Dental professionals often perform visual examinations on the gums to provide an accurate diagnosis. They may also request lab tests if they suspect more severe gum diseases like periodontitis.
The most effective way to combat gum disease is to combine home remedies and professional treatments. While home remedies for gum disease can aid in managing mild cases and preventing recurrence, professional gingivitis treatments will address underlying issues and provide thorough cleaning to stop the disease from progressing.
This gingivitis treatment is often carried out by a dentist or periodontist. After accessing the gum to determine the extent of gum inflammation and assessing any damage to supporting bone structure through X-rays, they will provide treatments like:
1. Scaling and Root Planing
This procedure is also known as deep cleaning. Why? The dental professional will remove the plaque and tarter build-up from their hiding place so that the gums can heal and reattach to the teeth. When they remove the hardened plaque, they smooth out rough areas on the tooth roots to discourage further plaque buildup and promote gum reattachment.
After the deep cleaning procedure, dentists may also prescribe drugs for gingivitis treatments. Some of the medications include:
These antibiotics often come as gel, chips, or mouth rinses and contain chlorhexidine, doxycycline, metronidazole, tetracycline, or minocycline. For effective gum disease treatment, patients need to apply topical antibiotics directly to the affected gum area. Topical antibiotics will target and reduce the number of bacteria in the gum pockets and reduce infection and inflammation.
If gingivitis is almost past the early stages, dentists may recommend oral antibiotics for gum disease treatment. Some common oral antibiotics for gingivitis include amoxicillin and doxycycline. When taking oral prescriptions, make sure you follow dentists’ instructions and complete the medications even if your symptoms improve to ensure gum disease does not reoccur.
Besides professional dental treatment, home remedies can also help manage mild cases of gingivitis. Some common home remedies to consider include:
a) Practice Lifestyle changes
Most times, poor nutrition, medication, and medical-related issues may cause gingivitis. In such cases, consuming a nutritional diet containing essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, can help you combat gum disease. Also, you may have to reduce chores that increase your stress levels. Chronic stress weakens the immune system and makes your body more vulnerable to infections, including gum disease. Practice stress-relief techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga to reduce stress.
b) Oral Hygiene
Whether you have a mild or severe case of gum disease, practicing good oral hygiene is essential to maintain good oral health. Ensure you brush at least twice a day using soft toothbrushes and fluoride toothpaste. Depending on your preferences, use a traditional floss or water flosser to remove food particles in areas your toothbrush cannot reach. Generally, water flossers are gentler on the gums. People with dental implants, braces, and bridges also benefit from using water flossers. Then, use an antimicrobial mouthwash to rinse the mouth.
c) Avoid Risk Factors
An increased sugar intake contributes to gingivitis. Why? Bacteria love sugar. Hence, they thrive in an environment with excessive sugar. On the other hand, smoke weakens the immune system and makes it difficult for gum tissues to heal. By limiting sugary foods and quitting smoke, you can effectively fight gum disease.
d) Stay Hydrated
Lastly, drinking water can help flush away food particles and bacteria in the mouth and combat gingivitis. It also helps you produce saliva, which works to neutralize acids in the mouth that may promote gum disease.
Ultimately, gum disease requires swift action once you notice symptoms like swelling, redness, pains, or bleeding gums. With home remedies like brushing regularly, water flossing, increased water intake, eating nutritional diets, and quitting smoking, you can effectively create a resistant foundation for gingivitis. However, once your symptoms become severe, visit a dentist or periodontist to offer professional help.