Gingivitis gum disease is both preventable and treatable. However, without the appropriate measures to prevent complications by treating the disease at the earliest possible stage, gingivitis can quickly progress to cause significant damage to the teeth, gums and mouth cavity as a whole.
Untreated gingivitis can lead to :
- Difficulty in eating and swallowing
- Abscess formation
- Loss of teeth
- Osteomyelitis (rare)
- Infection of the mouth and face (rare complication of acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis)
- Death (spread of infection from untreated ANUG)
Prevention of Gingivitis
- Good dental hygiene
- Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Do not brush for less than 1 minutes or too vigorously.
- Flossing and the use of antiseptic mouth rinse is necessary.
- Frequent visits to a dentist
- Consult with a dentist at least once every 6 months for a routine check-up.
- Dental cleaning procedures (scaling and polishing) should be done regularly.
- Attend to dental problems as soon as possible.
- Avoid known risk factors like :
- Cigarette smoking or chewing tobacco
- Eat a well balanced diet, especially foods rich in vitamin C.
Treatment of Gingivitis
- The first step in the treatment of gingivitis is professional dental cleaning. This is done by a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. The first part of the process, known as scaling, removes the accumulated plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth. The next part, known as root planing, is done to make the rough edges on the crown and root surfaces smooth so that plaque cannot adhere to them easily. Follow up consultations with a dentist after dental cleaning is necessary to monitor the progress of the treatment.
- An antiseptic mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine gluconate is usually recommended by the dentist to clear away bacteria.
- Local factors contributing to difficulty in plaque removal such as misaligned teeth, ill-fitting mouth appliances such as braces, crowns or bridges may need to be taken care of.
- Treatment of any related illnesses or deficiencies.
If, however, there has been a significant delay in starting treatment or in case of ANUG, more aggressive methods may need to be necessary in addition to the measures above. This may include :
- Antibiotics to eradicate infection in a case of ANUG. Antibiotics are not routinely used for treatment of uncomplicated gingivitis, but may be indicated if dental surgery is planned.
- Saline rinses and oral rinses with hydrogen peroxide 3% solution may help with early resolution.
- Analgesics (pain relievers) such as ibuprofen, along with topical anesthetics (used locally on the gums) may be used by patients with ANUG if it has been prescribed by a dentist. Its helps to control pain so that the patient can eat, brush, and floss.
- Surgery may be necessary in case of extensive damage.
Home Remedies to Control Gingivitis
Always consult with a dentist before attempting to control gingivitis with home remedies.
- Regular brushing of the teeth twice a day. If possible, brush after every meal. Using a soft toothbrush with rounded bristles.
- Flossing at least once a day.
- Rinse the mouth after every meal or snack. Use a plaque-reducing rinse.
- An electric toothbrush may be able to remove plaque and tartar more effectively.
- Certain toothpastes, both herbal and non-herbal, are may be effective. Toothpaste containing peppermint oil or sage oil may provide some relief.
- Food such as mozzarella cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables are said to be tooth-friendly and prevent the build-up of plaque.
- Rinsing the mouth with saline solution – a glass of warm water with a generous amount of salt added to it – can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Rubbing clove oil on the gum may help to reduce pain and swelling. A bit of clove chewed gently may also be useful.