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Dentist Journal

What Causes Gingivitis and How Can I Treat It?

What Causes Gingivitis and How Can I Treat It?

A study performed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare revealed that 28.8% of Australians aged 15 and over were suffering from gingivitis. Gingivitis is a relatively common issue.

Gingivitis gets its name from the part of your gums that surrounds your teeth, referred to as the gingiva, which may become inflamed due to tartar build-up, irritation and bleeding. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that can cause swelling, irritation, and bleeding of the gums. It is also linked to bad breath, which can embarrass sufferers.

To learn more about the causes and symptoms of gingivitis and some of the solutions you can implement, keep reading.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. If you have gingivitis, you will notice redness, swelling, and irritation of the gums. The gingiva surrounding the base of your teeth can separate from the teeth and become vulnerable when bacteria build up. If you suspect you have gingivitis, you should seek professional advice as soon as possible.

What Causes Gingivitis?

To find the best course of treatment for gingivitis, you must first understand what causes it. Listed below are some of the leading causes of gingivitis:

Plaque Buildup

Plaque is a sticky substance that coats both the teeth and the gums caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth. When plaque builds up in the mouth, this can lead to gingivitis.

When there is an excessive amount of plaque in the mouth, this can form tartar and calculus in the gumline. Tartar is tricky to remove and can cause irritation along your gumline.

To stop plaque and tartar from building up in the mouth, you should brush your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste and use mouthwash. To remove any tartar buildup in the mouth, you should invest in regular teeth cleanings performed by a professional dentist.


Saliva is instrumental in keeping the mouth clean. If your saliva production slows, this can lead to more bacteria growing in the mouth. A lack of saliva is a condition referred to as dry mouth.

Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications, among other things. If you’re taking medications that can cause a dry mouth, you must take steps to reduce the risk of bacteria build-up in the mouth.


Gingivitis is linked to several infections that can occur in the mouth. For instance, HIV, oral thrush, and oral herpes contribute to gingivitis. Speak to your Maroubra dentist to learn how to mitigate the gingivitis caused by these conditions or the steps you must take to treat and manage these conditions.

Poor Nutrition

If your diet isn’t giving you a sufficient amount of nutrition, this can impact the tissues in your gums, meaning they are more prone to infections. Calcium, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C deficiencies can all affect your gums, making you more vulnerable to conditions like gingivitis. Taking multivitamins daily and improving your diet can help to reduce the occurrence of gingivitis in the mouth.

Additional Factors That Could Lead To Gingivitis

There are a few additional factors worth mentioning that could be causing your gingivitis:

  • Hormone changes/imbalances – during the menstrual cycle, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, hormone changes and imbalances could lead to your gums becoming inflamed or sensitive.
  • Smoking can cause dryness in the mouth, and regular smokers are more likely to suffer from gingivitis than non-smokers.
  • Age – as we grow older, our mouths can become drier, and tartar can build upon our teeth, making us more likely to suffer gingivitis.
  • Genetics – if you have a family history of gingivitis, you will be more likely to suffer from the condition.

Symptoms Of Gingivitis

Some of the main symptoms that indicate gingivitis are:

  • A change in gum colour – if your gums become dark or dusky red, this could indicate that you have gingivitis.
  • Bleeding in the gums – when you brush your teeth or floss, look out for any bleeding as this could indicate that you have gingivitis.
  • Swelling in the gums – your gums may become puffy and swollen if you have gingivitis.
  • Bad breath – the presence of bacteria in the mouth may cause your breath to smell.
  • Tenderness – if your gums are irritated and tender, this indicates that you might have gingivitis.

How To Avoid Gingivitis

Gingivitis is unpleasant, and you could face a surgical procedure. Most gingivitis sufferers experience unpleasant-smelling breath that they find embarrassing, so keeping your oral hygiene practices up to scratch can save you a lot of trouble. If you wish to avoid gingivitis, then there are some best practices you should follow:

  • Practice better oral hygiene – brushing your teeth regularly, flossing, and using mouthwash helps to discourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth which could lead to gingivitis.
  • Visit your dentist regularly – your dentist will assess your gum health whenever you visit for your regular 6-month checkup. You should also get your teeth professionally cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet – by eating healthily, you can help to avoid hormone imbalances and vitamin deficiencies that could contribute to gingivitis.
  • Quit smoking – smoking causes dryness in the mouth that can cause gingivitis, so quitting smoking will help you to avoid gingivitis.

By implementing all of these practices in your oral health routine, you can significantly decrease your risk of gingivitis.

Treatment For Gingivitis

If you find yourself with gingivitis, you should consider investing in an antibacterial mouth rinse to use regularly. You might also purchase an interdental cleaner that will help you fight bacteria in those hard-to-reach places. However, treating gingivitis on your own is only half of the solution. As mentioned, visiting your dentist for regular teeth cleanings will help fight the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Your dentist maroubra will be able to prescribe treatments for your gingivitis, such as:

  • Gum surgery
  • Deep cleaning of the gums
  • Antibiotics
  • Teeth removal

You should always seek professional advice for any issue with your gums, as this could signify a larger issue. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss if left untreated, and your pain will only worsen. So, take action quickly to resolve the issue and restore your oral health.

If you’re suffering from gingivitis, visit your local Maroubra dental clinic for a check-up. Your dentist will identify the steps you can take at home to practise better oral care and recommend effective treatment options for the issue. Get in touch today.

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