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Inflamed gums (gingivitis): causes, symptoms and treatment

Inflamed gums (gingivitis): causes, symptoms and treatment

Created: May 3, 2022 | Updated: March 19, 2024

Do you ever look at your gums in the mirror? Healthy gums are pink in colour and close tightly around the teeth, giving bacteria little chance to settle. Inflamed gums, also known as gingivitis, can have several causes and lead to annoying problems such as sores, rotten teeth, receding gums and even periodontitis. But how do you get rid of inflamed gums? This article will give you the answer.

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What is gum inflammation?

When your gums are inflamed, there are more bacteria than normal in your mouth. It is important to take timely action to prevent the inflammation from developing into periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease that can cause damage to the jawbone and eventually lead to tooth loss . Good oral care, with the right tools, can prevent inflammation and sensitive gums. 1

Symptoms of inflamed gums

There are several symptoms that can indicate inflammation of the gums:

  1. Blood after brushing or flossing: Blood after brushing or flossing is an indication of irritated gums and possibly incipient inflammation.
  2. Swollen inflamed gums: Swelling in your gums may indicate inflammation.
  3. Loose gums: If your gums are no longer tight around your teeth, bacteria can settle more easily.
  4. Pain and sensitivity: Pain or sensitivity to light touch can also be a symptom of inflamed gums. Make sure you take immediate action in case of pain or sensitivity.

Cause of inflamed gums

Inflamed gums are usually caused by a combination of factors such as poor oral hygiene, the use of too hard a toothbrush or the presence of bacteria, plaque and food debris settling under the gums. Consuming many sugary drinks and foods can irritate the gums and promote gingivitis.

Gingivitis

Sensitive and painful gums can be the early stages of inflammation (gingivitis). It is often caused by bacteria, brushing too hard or damage from a toothpick. If gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to periodontitis, a severe gum inflammation that can lead to tooth loss.

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How to get rid of inflamed gums: A 5-step plan

If you are dealing with inflamed gums, there are five key steps you can take to improve your oral health:

  1. Brush your teeth: Clean your teeth twice daily, preferably with a (sonic) toothbrush or a soft toothbrush. This helps reduce plaque, a main cause of gum disease. Make sure to brush your tongue too, as there can be a lot of bacteria there too.
  2. Floss your teeth: Floss every day to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth and along your gum line. If flossing with traditional floss is difficult for you, consider using a water flosser.
  3. Use mouthwash: Mouthwash can help kill bacteria in your mouth, especially in places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush or floss.
  4. Eat healthy: A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can contribute to healthy gums and prevent your gums from becoming inflamed. Limit consumption of sugary drinks and foods.
  5. Visit your dentist: Regular dental visits for checkups and professional cleanings are essential to detect and treat gum disease early. Your dentist can also advise on the best oral care products and techniques for your specific needs.

How to treat gum disease

Treating gum disease starts with good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing regularly, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. You can also consult your dentist for a professional cleaning. It is important to replace your toothbrush regularly, especially if the bristles start to wear down, as a worn toothbrush is less effective in removing plaque.

In some cases, your dentist may recommend a special toothpaste, mouthwash or other remedies to treat inflamed gums. There are also medical treatments available, such as deep cleaning and, in some cases, surgery, if the inflammation is severe or does not improve with home care.

How to prevent inflamed gums?

Preventing gum disease is better than a cure. This can be achieved by maintaining good oral hygiene, regular dental visits, and limiting sugary foods and drinks. A healthy lifestyle, including adequate sleep, a balanced diet and regular exercise, can also contribute to good oral health.

Consequences of inflamed gums

Inflamed gums can have unpleasant consequences, but with proper care and prevention, you can maintain healthy gums. Learn about the symptoms of inflamed gums, adjust your oral care routine if needed and consult your dentist regularly for healthy teeth and gums. Want to know more about dental care or looking for the best oral care aids? Visit our webshop and discover our extensive range.

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Related Trusted Sources

  • 1. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). (2020, 27 februari). Gingivitis and periodontitis: Overview. InformedHealth.org - NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279593/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279593/

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Frequently asked questions

Gum inflammation is also known as gingivitis. It is caused by plaque and bacteria and can be recognised by blood when brushing or flossing. It can also be irritated, red or swollen.

Inflammation is usually caused by plaque and bacteria in the mouth. If they are not removed, they can become irritated and painful.

You can remedy it by working on improved oral hygiene; it is important to brush and floss daily. In addition, it is important not to brush too hard with a toothbrush and to visit the dentist every six months.

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Trusted Source

American Dental Association

The American Dental Association (ADA) is a professional organisation dedicated to promoting oral health and improving the quality of dental care in the United States.

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