Gum Disease : Know The Causes, Risk Factors And Treatment


The area of gum that surrounds the base of your teeth, becomes irritated, red, and swollen (inflammation) due to gingivitis; a frequent and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease). It is critical to treat gingivitis quickly and strongly. Periodontitis, a far more serious form of gum disease, and tooth loss can result from gingivitis.

Poor oral hygiene is the most frequent cause of gingivitis. Gingivitis may be prevented and treated with good oral hygiene practises including brushing at least twice a day, flossing once per day, and scheduling routine dental exams.


Poor dental hygiene is the most frequent cause of gingivitis because it promotes plaque buildup on teeth, which inflames the tissues around the gums. How plaque can cause gingivitis is as follows:

You develop plaque on your teeth. When the carbohydrates and sugars in food mix with the bacteria ordinarily present in your mouth, plaque, an invisible, sticky film primarily made of bacteria, develops on your teeth. Plaque needs to be taken out every day since it quickly reforms.

Tartar is the result of plaque. The remaining plaque on your teeth has the potential to solidify into tartar (calculus), which gathers microorganisms. Tartar irritates the gumline, makes it more difficult to eliminate plaque, and acts as a barrier for germs. Professional dental cleaning is necessary for tartar elimination.

Inflamed gingiva are present (gingivitis). The gingiva, the area of your gum at the base of your teeth, becomes increasingly irritated and inflamed the longer plaque and tartar are allowed to build up on your teeth. Your gums eventually swell up and start to bleed readily. Dental caries, or tooth decay, might also ensue. Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis and eventually result in tooth loss if it is not treated.

How to check if you have Gum Disease?

Make a dental visit as soon as you discover any gingivitis symptoms or indicators. Your prospects of correcting gingivitis's effects and stopping it from developing into periodontitis are greater the earlier you seek medical attention.

Risk Factors

Anyone can get gingivitis since it is so widespread. You may be more susceptible to developing gingivitis if you have:

  • Bad dental hygiene practises
  • Chewing or smoking tobacco
  • Greater age
  • Mouth ache
  • Inadequate diet, especially a lack of vitamin C
  • Teeth that are difficult to clean because of their crookedness or improperly fitting dental restorations
  • Immunosuppressive conditions such as leukemia, HIV/AIDS, or cancer therapy
  • A number of medications, including calcium channel blockers used to treat angina, high blood pressure, and other diseases, and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) for epileptic convulsions
  • Hormone changes caused by menstruation, pregnancy, or using birth control pills
  • Genetics
  • Illnesses such as certain viral and fungus infections


Gums that are in good health are firmly attached to the teeth, firm, and light pink in colour. Gingivitis symptoms and signs include:

  • Puffy or swollen gums
  • Dark or dusky red gums
  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
  • Decaying gums and bad breath
  • Supple gums


Proper dental care. In order to do this, you must wash your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily—in the morning and before bed—and floss at least once. If your dentist recommends it, brush after every meal or snack. You can remove the germs and loosen food particles by flossing before brushing.

Regular dental appointments. Visit your dentist or dental hygienist for cleanings on a regular basis, often every six to twelve months. You might require professional cleaning more frequently if you smoke, take certain medicines, have a dry mouth, or have other risk factors for periodontitis. Annual dental X-rays can help detect abnormalities and diagnose problems that are not visible during a visual dental checkup. 

Healthy lifestyle choices. Gum health may also be maintained by engaging in behaviours like good eating and blood sugar management if you have diabetes.


Early therapy typically relieves gingivitis symptoms and stops the condition from worsening and leading to tooth loss. When you stop smoking and start a regular oral hygiene routine, your chances of having a successful treatment are at their maximum.

Professional treatment for gingivitis includes:

Professional cleaning of the teeth. Your initial professional cleaning will include scaling and root planing, a procedure used to remove plaque, tartar, and bacterial products. During scaling, germs and tartar are removed from the gum line and tooth surfaces. Root planning helps to promote good healing by removing the germs that cause inflammation, and smoothing the root surfaces to stop tartar and bacteria from forming in the future. The procedure may be performed with a laser, an ultrasonic device, or other tools.

Dental restoration. Your gums may get irritated by misaligned teeth or poorly fitted crowns, bridges, or other dental restorations, which will make it more difficult to eliminate plaque from your teeth on a regular basis. Your dentist may advise addressing issues with your teeth or dental restorations if they are causing your gingivitis.

Ongoing treatment. After a thorough professional cleaning, gingivitis often goes away as long as you maintain appropriate dental care at home. Your dentist will work with you to develop a home care regimen that works as well as a schedule for routine exams and cleanings.

Within a few days or weeks, the pink, healthy gum tissue should recover if you maintain good dental hygiene at home.

Complications of Gum Disease

Untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a far more dangerous illness that can result in tooth loss. Gum disease known as periodontitis can affect bone and underlying tissue.

Numerous systemic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, and respiratory conditions have all been associated with chronic gingival inflammation. According to some research, the gum tissue may allow periodontitis-causing bacteria to enter your bloodstream, which might subsequently affect your heart, lungs, and other organs. However, more investigation is necessary to demonstrate a relationship.

Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG), commonly known as trench mouth, is a severe form of gingivitis that results in sore, inflamed, bleeding gums and ulcerations. Despite being widespread in impoverished countries, trench mouth is now uncommon in industrialised countries. have substandard living and nutritional circumstances.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 14, 2023

Next review due: Mar 14, 2025

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