What does Inflammation of the Gums Mean?

Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is a widespread disease. In Germany, more than 80 percent of adults have such symptoms. Inflammation of the gums usually does not cause pain. However, since it is a warning signal from the body, it should not be ignored.

  • In most cases, bacteria cause gingivitis, more rarely viruses or fungi are responsible.
  • Not only poor oral hygiene, but also other risk factors can cause an infection, for example a weakened immune system.
  • Redness and swelling of the lining of the mouth, bleeding gums and bad breath indicate inflammation.
  • If the symptoms do not subside after several days despite intensive dental care, it is advisable to visit a dentist.

Definition: what is gingivitis?

Inflammation of the gums (medical: gingivitis) is an infection of the gums, for which bacteria and sometimes viruses or fungi are responsible. Dentists differentiate between acute and chronic gingivitis. In the former, the gum line is suddenly inflamed. If the gingivitis persists for a week or more, dentists describe the infection as chronic. In the worst case, it leads to periodontitis.

Periodontitis: Differentiation from gingivitis

Gingivitis and periodontal disease are similar, but they are two different diseases . While the gums are only superficially inflamed in gingivitis, periodontitis also affects large parts of the gums. The reason for this are bacteria that penetrate deeper and deeper into the gap between the gum and tooth and form gum pockets, for example. As a result of this inflammation, the bones often degrade so severely that there is a risk of tooth loss. In principle, gingivitis precedes periodontitis. It is therefore a preliminary stage of an even more serious disease.

The causes of gingivitis

Various factors can trigger gingivitis. Most often it can be traced back to poor oral hygiene. Those who do not often enough brushing his teeth thoroughly, risking stubborn plaque ( plaque ) and tartar . Pathogens that occur in the oral flora settle on this and multiply. With a certain number of germs the immune system becomes active. As a result, inflammation of the gums develops.

In addition, injuries to the gums can lead to inflammation. These injuries result, for example, from brushing your teeth too intensively, especially when using dental floss. However, the gums can also be irritated during dental treatment or from food that is too hot. The sharp edges of braces or a prosthesis that does not fit perfectly can also easily cause the smallest wounds. Once the mucous membrane is injured, it is much easier for bacteria to establish themselves there.

Various risk factors make you prone to gingivitis

How quickly a gingivitis develops varies from person to person. For some people, for example, even light plaque leads to problems, while other people have no complaints even with thicker deposits. There are a number of factors that contribute to tissue inflammation. These include:

  • stress
  • a weakened immune system
  • hormonal changes
  • consumption of alcohol or nicotine
  • metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus
  • various drugs
  • mouth breathing
  • low salivation
  • malnutrition
  • misaligned teeth

The symptoms of gingivitis

Many sufferers do not recognize the symptoms of gingivitis in time. It is therefore important to regularly examine the lining of the mouth. Healthy gums are pale pink, cling to the teeth and do not bleed . Inflamed gums usually do not cause pain, especially in the early stages of gingivitis. Nevertheless, there are various indications that indicate inflammation. The most common symptoms include:

  • reddened and swollen oral mucous membranes
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Reformation of the gums up to exposed tooth necks
  • swollen lymph nodes (if the inflammation is severe)

What helps with inflammation?

So that the gingivitis disappears or does not arise in the first place, those affected should clean their teeth thoroughly. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day; the toothbrush should have soft to medium-hard bristles so that they irritate the gums as little as possible. Oral hygiene also includes cleaning the spaces between the teeth, ideally using both dental floss and interdental brushes. In addition, if you have inflammation of the gums, you can rinse the oral cavity with antibacterial solutions or apply medication such as special ointments.

If the gingivitis does not subside after several days , you should visit a dentist. Doctors can often tell whether there is an inflammation after the first inspection. In rare cases, a probe or X-ray examination is used. Once the diagnosis has been made, the dentist cleans the tooth surfaces in the course of the gum treatment with special hand instruments and ultrasound devices. In addition, it also removes deposits from areas that are difficult to access. He then polishes the tooth surfaces: Bacteria can hardly attach themselves to smooth surfaces. As a rule, the symptoms subside after a few days. However, if severe gingivitis remains untreated, there is a risk of diseases such as periodontitis or tooth loss.

What home remedies help with gingivitis?

There are several home remedies that can help relieve the symptoms of gingivitis and speed up the healing process. Chamomile, for example, contains substances that have a disinfecting and calming effect. So it makes sense to gargle with chamomile flower tea several times a day. With apple cider vinegar , however, sufferers can make a mouthwash, but they should not directly use before brushing, and the gel of the Aloe Vera is also considered a good remedy for gingivitis. It is obtained from the leaves of the plant.

Preventive measures

Some of the risk factors that favor gingivitis cannot be influenced. However, certain behaviors can help keep gums healthy. The best form of prevention is thorough oral hygiene, including the spaces between the teeth. It is also advisable to have your teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year . In addition, proper nutrition keeps the gums healthy. Eating as few sugary and acidic foods as possible reduces the risk of infection.