Indian Dental Association estimates that more than 85% of the population suffers from some gum disease or the other. And, gingivitis is the most common amongst this 85% population. Also, this population includes periodontitis or pyrrohea which also starts which gingivitis as the first stage. So what is this ailment? What are the symptoms of gingivitis? What is the known treatment for gingivitis? Read on to know more.
What is gingivitis?
Very simply put, gingivitis is the inflammation of the gingiva or the part of the gums around the teeth. This inflammation can cause redness, soreness, irritation and swelling of the gums. This is also the first stage of periodontitis or pyrrohea.
What causes gingivitis?
Whenever one eats food, the bacteria in the mouth react with it and form a transparent layer called plaque. This layer of plaque needs to be cleaned everyday before it hardens and forms tartar. Tartar is difficult to clean and often requires professional cleaning. Tartar further blocks more bacteria which lead to more plaque and tartar formation. This is more prevalent in the area at the bottom of the teeth inside what we can see as gums, also known as the sulcus.
The single most important reason for gingivitis is improper oral hygiene. For proper oral hygiene one must:
- Brush teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meals)
- Floss the teeth once a day
- Use interdental cleaners or dental picks for gaps in the teeth
- Change your toothbrush every three to four months
- Clean the tongue and upper part of the mouth as well
- Get regular dental checkups (at least once in six months)
- Maintain a good diet since deficiencies of certain vitamins can lead to gingivitis
- Avoid tobacco, smoking and alcohol
Who is more likely to suffer from gingivitis?
While some researches believe men are more likely to suffer from gingivitis, there is not enough evidence to support this hypothesis. But there are some things that make one prone to gingivitis:
- Older age - most patients are above the age of 30
- Crooked teeth - because they are that much more difficult to clean
- Chewing of tobacco or smoking
- Poor nutrition - particularly vitamin C deficiency
- Viral and fungal infections
- Medical conditions - People suffering from diabetes and ailments that reduce the immunity
- Hormonal changes in women during periods or pregnancy
- Family history of gingivitis
- Drugs to treat epilepsy and some cancer therapies
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
Gingivitis is best identified by:
- Swollen gums that appear red rather than pink
- Receding gums around the teeth - the sulcus is exposed
- Bleeding gums during brushing and flossing
- Bad breath even after brushing multiple times
- Pain while chewing at the bottom of the teeth
- Teeth sensitivity
If gingivitis is not treated in time, it can progress into what is known as periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to loss of teeth. It is also believed to cause other ailment or increase the likelihood of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and respiratory ailments owing to the bacteria that can enter the bloodstream through the mouth.
How is gingivitis diagnosed? What are the treatments for gingivitis?
A medical practitioner would typically use one of the following methods to diagnose gingivitis:
- Visual examination
The dentist will begin with a visual examination of the mouth - teeth, gums, tongue to check for plaque, tartar and any signs of receding gum line
- Pocket depth test
Using a dental probe, the dentist will check the depth of teeth below the gum line. Usually this depth is between 1-3mm. Anything beyond 4 mm indicates gum ailments. The dentist will check this at multiple locations in the mouth to make sure the depth is consistent and conforms to the normal.
- Dental X-rays
The dentist may suggest X rays of the mouth to study the loss of teeth and bone to understand the extent of ailment.
The good news is that gingivitis can be easily treated if detected early. Here are some of the treatment methods that one might deploy:
- Scaling and root planing
Scaling is the process that involves cleaning the tartar from the mouth. Planing, as the name suggests, planes out any roughness in the roots that might be caused by gingivitis.
- Dental restoration
If the gingivitis has had any impact on previous fixtures or teeth have been misaligned, the dentist might go in for dental restoration. The extent will depend on damage done or the misalignment that exists (either because of gingivitis or before that)
- Ongoing care
Once the treatment is complete, the dentist will prepare an oral care schedule in terms of brushing, flossing, etc. He / She may also recommend antiseptic mouthwash or other medications like antibiotic microspheres, timed-release antiseptic chips or oral antibiotic medication depending on the extent of the procedure.
Gingivitis, if detected at an early stage usually does not require surgery. If it progresses to advanced stage of periodontitis, a flap surgery or grafting might be required.
What does ayurveda say about gingivitis? Is there an ayurvedic treatment for gingivitis?
The different stages on gingivitis are described in Ayurveda under mukharogas i.e. ailments of the mouth. Further in the Danta Moolagata Roga, they are described as Dantapupputa (gum boil or inflammation), suashira (excess production of saliva and pain at the root of the teeth) and Sheetad (bleeding of the gums). Ayurveda attributes these to the vitiation of the Kapha and Pitta Doshas. As far as oral care is concerned, Ayurveda has long advocated the use the twigs (datoons) of various trees like babool, ark, neem, sheesham and so on. These twigs provide complete oral care and help fight the bacteria and other organisms that might cause oral ailments.
At The Good Herbs, we bring to you Good 4 Teeth, Ayurvedic Dant Manjan for complete oral care. Whether it is gingivitis, pyorrhea, bad breath or sensitivity in the teeth, this one stop FSSAI certified ayurvedic dant manjan takes care of all ailments of the mouth. Are you ready to smile wide and bright?
If you would like to read more some other ailments related to the gut like Constipation, GERD, Bloating, Bile reflux or Irritable Bowel Syndrome / IBS, or oral care concerns like Periodontitis or Pyorrhoea or bad breath, or some chronic ailments like Tuberculosis, Asthma, Arthritis, Frozen shoulder, Anaemia, Bronchitis, muscle dystrophy, or filtration organ ailments like Urinary Tract Infection or UTIs and Kidney Stones, or ailments for sexual wellness like Erectile dysfunction or ED, Oligospermia, please click on the relevant ailment to know more.