Gingvitis Or Inflammation of Gums

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and is very common.

Gingivitis is caused by plaque (particularly at the tooth/gum margin) and can result in swelling, redness and bleeding of the gums. It is not usually painful, and may only affect some parts of the mouth. Gingivitis is a very common condition in adults and may in some cases lead to the more serious gum condition known as Periodontitis. Good oral hygiene techniques are a quick, easy and effective way to treat and prevent Gingivitis.

Most gum and tooth problems are due to poor oral hygiene. It is essential to regularly remove the bacteria (plaque) that naturally form on teeth to prevent Gingivitis. Bleeding gums are NOT normal. The bleeding is a sign of the irritation caused by the bacteria. Bleeding gums need more (or better) brushing and flossing, never less. A toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles will more than adequately clean your teeth without causing damage to the teeth or gums. Always make sure you brush all your teeth both inside and out to ensure thorough cleaning.

Hold the brush with the bristles about 45 degrees to the tooth and gum and move the brush in a small circular action (concentrating on one tooth at a time). When a circular action is too difficult to manage try using a small horizontal scrubbing action. Use firm pressure but never press too hard. It is important to clean both the teeth AND the gum next to the teeth.

Brushes can only clean some surfaces of the teeth. To clean between teeth, it is important to use floss. Flossing can be a little difficult to start with but after a few weeks practise it becomes very easy. Most floss comes with instructions on the pack. It is important the floss passes slightly below the gum line to clean out the small crevice between the tooth and the gum. Brushing and flossing will not remove good fillings. Only fillings that are in poor condition may be removed by flossing and are best replaced before any further decay has the chance to form.

TREATMENT OPTIONS
As with all dental conditions your Dentist should be consulted, as there are some rare forms of Gingivitis, which need special attention. Your Dentist will diagnose and treat your particular problem. Ask your Dentist about how to brush and floss your teeth. Sometimes plaque builds up in the mouth and becomes hard and calcified. This calculus (tartar) cannot be brushed or flossed away and needs to be removed by your Dentist as it is always coated with a microscopic layer of plaque that causes Gingivitis.

DIET HINTS
• Having a wholesome, balanced diet helps to promote healthy teeth and gums. It is a good idea to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, which are good sources of vitamins, minerals and soluble fibre.
• Food should be as fresh as possible and it is best to eat vegetables raw or lightly steamed if possible to help retain the nutrient content.
• Try not to snack between meals. Eating between meals without brushing afterwards, allows plaque to build up which can result in Gingivitis.
• After eating it is important to clean your teeth to reduce the formation of bacteria, which can cause Gingivitis.
• Make sure that you clean your teeth before going to sleep. Going to bed without brushing allows plaque to grow on teeth and gums during the night.

SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES
The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be over emphasised. Having an adequate diet alone will not prevent Gingivitis. There is no substitute for good regular mechanical cleaning with a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.

ORGANISATIONS & SUPPORT GROUPS
Indian Dental Association (http://www.ida.org.in/)

PHARMACIST'S ADVICE
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice
1. Your Pharmacy stocks a wide range of suitable toothbrushes.
2. Brushes can only clean some surfaces of the teeth. To clean between teeth, it is important to use floss. There are many brands and types of dental floss .Ask your Pharmacist for the type that is most suitable for you.
3. Consider using toothpaste specially formulated for gum problems. Recent research indicates that a gel or toothpaste containing tea tree oil, brushed onto the teeth twice a day, reduces the incidence of gingivitis, that causes inflammation and bleeding of the gums.
4. Ask your Pharmacist about mouthwashes, which provide temporary help in controlling Gingivitis.
5. Follow the Diet Hints.
6. Sugarless chewing gum, available from your Pharmacy, can help to increase the flow of protective saliva to the teeth and gums. Saliva helps to neutralise acid, which can damage teeth and also helps to prevent the growth of plaque, which causes Gingivitis.