Gingivitis Treatment: 7 Home Remedies for Gingivitis Before You See A Periodontist
Gingivitis treatment can start at home but if all of your efforts fail, getting professional advice from a periodontist (a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease, and in the placement of dental implants) is crucial for gingivitis treatment and recovery.
Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly, (Source: mayoclinic).
Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss that’s why gingivitis treatment is required early on with your first symptoms.
Gingivitis could be accompanied by pain or at times painless that’s why it is important that you know what symptoms accompany gingivitis.
In certain cases of gingivitis, patients may not even know they have it. Gingivitis should be taken seriously and addressed as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Types of gingivitis:
There are two main types of gingivitis that you should be aware of:
- Dental plaque-induced gingival disease: This can be caused by plaque, systemic factors, medications, or malnutrition.
- Non-plaque induced gingival lesions: This type can be caused by a specific bacterium, virus, or fungus. It might also be caused by genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or reactions to foreign bodies, such as dentures. Other times, there is no specific cause as to why this type of gingivitis occur!
Some of the self-induced causes– the activities and habits that irritate your delicate gum tissue- include:
It’s sometimes hard to imagine that some of your food choices could be the main cause of your gingivitis. Hard candies or crunchy snacks, like potato chips or nuts, can scrape against your gums and cause irritation naturally as you chew these crunchy food.
Another dietary cause is insufficient vitamins and minerals intake. make sure your diet provides the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy gum. Anemia, specifically due to a low vitamin-C count, can lead to swollen or bleeding gums, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- Teeth whitening kits:
Peroxide-based whitening home kits will whiten your teeth but if they touch your gum tissue, they can cause similar irritation to them. At-home teeth whitening strips or trays aren’t created to fit the contours of your mouth thus allowing the peroxide to come into contact with your gums.
We always recommend, if you still wish to whiten your teeth at home, to see your dentist who will be able to custom fit a tray specifically designed to fit the shape of your mouth and teeth. This custom-fitted tray will enable you to get the desired white teeth without the bleaching agent touching and irritating your gum.
- Aggressively brushing your teeth
You don’t need to use a lot of pressure when brushing your teeth every day. Aggressively brushing your teeth and the surrounding gum tissue could cause some serious irritation to you gum.
Being gentle when brushing is important. After all, that’s all you need to remove food and plaque from your teeth. Make sure to use short, concise strokes and take care to clean each tooth’s entire surface.
We also recommend that you use choose a soft-bristled toothbrush. There are many brands out there available to you especially if you’re more prone to bleeding when brushing and have overall sensitive gum tissue.
Soft-bristled toothbrushes are best at cleaning your teeth effectively without aggravating your delicate gum tissue in the process.
- Flossing Technique
As mentioned above regarding aggressive brushing, the same goes with inappropriate flossing techniques. This is especially evident when a patient vigorously flosses back-and-forth to remove food and plaque that’s stuck between their teeth and gum lining. This aggressive technique can lead to further gum irritation or even bleeding gums which requires treatment.
One should always floss more gently to dislodge the food stuck. Move the floss slowly back and forth, up and down and gently against the sides of your teeth. With this level of pressure, flossing around the base of your teeth can ensure you reach the food beneath your gum line.
Too much pressure is never advisable.
Causes of gingivitis
There are so many causes and risk factors to gingivitis which require immediate gingivitis treatment starting at home and, if failed, by seeing your dentist.
- Bacterial plaque:
The accumulation of bacterial plaque in the mouth and gum line is the main cause of gingivitis.
The plaque triggers an immune response which can lead to the destruction of gingival, gum, or even tissue. It may also lead to further complications including the loss of teeth.
Plaque is usually formed by colonizing bacteria that are trying to stick to the smooth surface of a tooth. When plaque is not removed properly, it can harden into calculus, or tartar, at the base of the teeth near the gum line. You can only remove calculus by seeing your dentist.
Plaque and tartar eventually irritate the gums causing gum inflammation around the base of the teeth. This means that the gums might start to bleed by now.
- Hormonal changes:
This usually occurs when someone goes through natural hormonal changes such as puberty, menopause, women’s menstrual cycles or pregnancy.
- Certain types of diseases
Gingivitis has also been linked to cancer, HIV, and diabetes.
- Family history
Hereditary factors always play a big role in diseases. Patients whose parent or parents have had gingivitis have a higher risk of developing it as well.
- Vitamin C deficiency
Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to gingivitis and gum disease.
- Age of patient
The older one gets, the higher the chance they will have gingivitis.
Smokers develop gingivitis more than non-smoker which will require gingivitis treatment.
Certain medications that cause saliva flow reduction have been attributed to gingivitis. Dilantin, an anticonvulsant and some anti-angina medications can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue, as well.
7 Home Remedies for Gingivitis Treatment
Saltwater can be used as a disinfectant. Pour boiling water into a glass and let it cool to lukewarm, mix 3/4 tsp of salt into the water then swirl the saltwater rinse around the mouth. After that, spit the solution out repeat up to three times daily.
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. Apply turmeric to the irritated gums and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with water and spitting.
Oil pulling also known as “kavala” is a dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for around 20 minutes. This action draws out toxins in your body.
To try oil pulling, people should put 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in their mouth, swirl it around for 20 minutes, and then spit it out.
Tea tree oil mouthwash
A 2014 study found that tea tree oil mouthwash can reduce the bleeding associated with gingivitis significantly.
Tea tree oil can interact with some medications, so it is best to speak to your dentist before using it for the first time.
Lemongrass oil mouthwash
To make a lemongrass mouthwash, dilute 2 to 3 drops of lemongrass oil in water. Swirl around the mouth and then spit out. Repeat up to three times daily.
Some studies indicate that clove could be used to prevent plaque and inflammation in the gums. If the gingivitis is painful, clove could be used to help relieve the pain before seeing your dentist.
One study in 2015 found that the bacteria that cause plaque were significantly reduced by using a sage mouthwash daily.
Gingivitis treatment: when should you see your dentist?
The sooner you treat your gingivitis, the better your chance of making a quick and full recovery. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can cause serious damage to your teeth and oral health.
We recommend that you see your dentist immediately if you have:
- severe tooth pain
- extremely bad breath
- gums that are bleeding excessively
- swollen or inflamed and irritated gums
A dentist or oral hygienist will check for symptoms, such as plaque and tartar in the oral cavity.
Checking for signs of periodontitis may also be recommended. This may be done by X-ray or periodontal probing, using an instrument that measures pocket depths around a tooth.
It is rare but sometimes necessary to have gum surgery to help heal your irritated gums and improve your overall oral health.
If your gums are irritated, call us right away for an examination. Dr Bakuri and Dr Weingarden will be able to identify the cause of the irritation and help you prevent it in the future.