Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is a bacterial infection of the teeth in the mouth. The cause of this inflammation is usually a lack of oral hygiene. Typical complaints are bleeding gums, toothache and swelling of the gums. In the course of untreated gingivitis, the gums slowly recede from the tooth necks, which can lead to tooth loss. Timely treatment at the dentist is therefore advisable.
What is gingivitis?
Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is no joke; It is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria in the oral cavity which, if left untreated, can quickly turn into periodontitis and thus permanently injure or even destroy the periodontium. For meaning of nmms in English, please visit sportingology.com.
Gingivitis here refers to the redness or swelling of the gums that is inflamed by plaque in the mouth. The gums bleed very quickly when touched, but gingivitis is usually not painful. If gingivitis becomes chronic, it can turn into periodontitis and cause tooth loosening and bone loss.
Inflammation of the gums usually results from poor oral hygiene. It is triggered by bacterial plaque adhering to the teeth and gums.
This plaque, which can turn into tartar over time, releases bacterial products from metabolic and decay processes that stimulate the body’s own defences. The immune system tries to fight the bacteria. So enzymes are formed that are supposed to take action against the pathogens, but these enzymes also destroy the patient’s own tissue, which leads to loss of connective tissue and bone.
This is how gum bleeding occurs: gum pockets form that trap bacteria, the gums recede and the teeth loosen in their retaining apparatus.
In addition, there are a number of risk factors that favor the occurrence of gingivitis. Such factors are, for example: diabetes, pregnancy, leukemia or certain medications for high blood pressure or epilepsy. However, deficiency symptoms such as vitamin C deficiency, malnutrition or too little saliva (dry oral cavity) can also trigger gingivitis. Anabolic steroids, narrow tooth spacing, tooth decay and smoking do not exactly have a positive effect on oral hygiene and are also risk factors.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Gingivitis brings with it the classic symptoms that characterize acute inflammation. First, there is the reddening: while healthy gums are pale in color, inflamed gums are often easy to recognize by their bright red appearance, even for laypeople. There is also swelling, which often cannot be overlooked either.
A bulge can often be seen at the gum line. This is characteristic, since the bacteria that trigger gingivitis can often settle particularly well here. Swelling and reddening of the gums in areas where tartar can also be found are typical.
A throbbing pain is also typical of an inflammatory reaction in the gums. In addition, there is a tendency to bleed: Inflamed gums often begin to bleed when they come into contact with the toothbrush during normal cleaning hygiene. A putrid odor and an unpleasant taste in the mouth are also typical of gingivitis.
These come from the decomposition processes triggered by the bacteria in the mouth. The late symptoms of gingivitis are particularly serious. As a result of the inflammation, a space forms between the tooth and gums, which promotes the colonization of bacteria. The root area can also be attacked. All this leads to the tooth becoming loose in its periodontium and, as a late consequence of the gingivitis, can even fall out.
Course of the disease
If left untreated, gingivitis can become chronic after just a few days. The gums are quickly attacked and irreparably damaged. Tooth loosening can endanger the tooth structure in the long term.
If the gums are attacked due to mechanical irritation, the inflammation heals after a few days without any major difficulties. The situation is different with bacterial irritation.
Such an inflammation can drag on for years, since it is painless for the time being, it is not even noticed.
Plaque and tartar inflame the gums, these slowly recede and the bacteria have free access to the necks of the teeth. Pain or tooth loosening only occur years later in this lengthy process. Good dental prophylaxis is therefore the be-all and end-all.
If gum inflammation (gingivitis) remains untreated, the inflammation can spread to the surrounding tissue. Deposits form in gum pockets, which represent an ideal breeding ground for bacteria: These penetrate further and further into the jawbone and damage connective tissue and bone substance. The gums recede, the necks of the teeth are exposed and offer the bacteria space for further destruction.
As a result, the teeth lose their anchorage in the jawbone and fall out. However, the complications of gingivitis are not limited to the oral cavity, but can affect the entire organism. Bacteria get into various organs via the bloodstream and can, for example, trigger inflammation of the lining of the heart (endocarditis) or damage the kidneys.
The immune system is weakened, and the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack also increases. Already existing diabetes (diabetes mellitus) can be negatively influenced by gingivitis. Rheumatic diseases can worsen, occasionally pathogens settle on artificial joints and trigger an inflammatory process.
During pregnancy, gingivitis increases the risk of miscarriage, and growth disorders in the unborn child also occur. Older people or people with a weakened immune system are at risk of bacteria entering the lungs from the mouth and causing pneumonia.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of inflammation of the gums, a doctor is not required in a large number of cases. The inflammation usually heals completely after a few days without further complications or sequelae. Medical care is not necessary in these situations, as the body’s own immune system initiates the regeneration processes. If there are no symptoms within a few days, no further visit to the doctor is necessary. A doctor’s consultation is indicated when the gingivitis progresses continuously and shows an increasing intensity.
If redness in the mouth increases, swelling or a purulent taste in the mouth occurs, a doctor should be consulted. In the case of loss of appetite, pain when eating, inner restlessness and irritability, a clarification of the cause is indicated. If teeth loosen and irregularities occur in an existing denture or braces, an investigation should be initiated. If reddening of the mouth occurs over several days or weeks, it is also advisable to consult a doctor.
If the body temperature rises, headaches, tiredness and persistent discomfort, the affected person should consult a doctor. Help and support is also needed when mouth ulcers form or the health condition deteriorates significantly within a short period of time.
Treatment & Prevention
Preventing and treating gingivitis involves regular visits to the dentist, and good oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, or an interdental brush two to three times a day, using a supportive mouthwash every now and then) is the easiest and most effective thing to do to prevent gingivitis can.
A thorough dental cleaning once or twice a year can also be appropriate in order to be able to remove all plaque as completely as possible.
If the dentist has diagnosed gingivitis or even periodontitis, plaque and tartar must be removed so that the inflammatory condition can improve. After comprehensive diagnostics using X-rays and analysis of the progression of the disease, the cleaning begins, which is characterized by mechanical cleaning by the dentist, replacement of fillings, any tooth extraction and rinsing fluids. The patient is also given tips on how good dental care should look like.
Inflammation of the gums can often be traced back to poor oral hygiene. If food residues remain in the oral cavity, bacteria can multiply rapidly and trigger the painful inflammation. Thorough and regular dental care should therefore be part of daily personal hygiene. However, it is also important not to brush your teeth too vigorously in order to prevent injuries, which can also cause inflammation of the gums.
A strong immune system is required to prevent pathogens from spreading. A balanced diet, sufficient exercise and avoiding obesity help to strengthen the body’s own defences. Restful sleep and stress-free periods of rest also promote the health of the organism. In the case of gingivitis, the patient must pay particular attention to the composition of his food.
Spicy, acidic foods should be avoided, as well as alcohol and nicotine, as they can increase the discomfort in the mouth area. The inflamed areas in the mouth should be spared when chewing. Despite the symptoms, thorough tooth cleaning is a must, so that bacteria are not prevented from multiplying. Toothbrushes with soft bristles and medicated mouthwashes help those affected to contain the spread of germs and gradually minimize the symptoms.
You can do that yourself
In the case of inflammation, the body’s own defense system must always be supported. In order to prevent the pathogens from spreading as quickly as possible or to kill them, the organism needs a stable and healthy immune system. This is influenced by the daily diet and the behavior of the person concerned. A healthy and balanced diet, avoiding obesity, regular oxygen supply and sufficient exercise promote the general health of the organism. Sufficient rest periods and restful sleep should also be ensured.
In order not to increase the discomfort in the mouth and throat area, the components of the food must be checked. Spicy foods, acidic products or harmful substances such as alcohol and nicotine should not be consumed, as they can lead to an increase in existing symptoms. The chewing process should be shifted to the areas in the mouth that are not affected by the inflammation.
Daily tooth cleaning should be carried out despite existing complaints. Otherwise, the germs can multiply faster and further weaken the general state of health. However, the cleaning should be changed in order not to cause further damage to the gums. The bristles of a toothbrush can otherwise damage the mucous membranes and further. Mouthwashes and cleaning the spaces between the teeth can curb the spread of germs and thus alleviate existing symptoms.