Dentists the world over have stressed on the importance of good oral hygiene. Improper oral hygiene can result in gingivitis
Since childhood our family, friends and friendly neighbourhood dentist has stressed on the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. If you are suffering from bleeding gums it could be a sign of gingivitis. “Gingivitis is a combination of two word gingiva and itis. Gingiva stands for gums while itis refers to any kind of inflammation. So any kind of inflammation of the gums is known as gingivitis,” says Dr Tanuja, dental surgeon. “Nearly 99 per cent of Indians suffer from chronic generalised gingivitis. This occurs when plaque gets deposited to form tartar which is a hard yellow covering over the gums or the teeth. It may occur in the lower teeth or surface of the mouth and also the upper teeth,” adds Dr Tanuja.
Plaque is formed when food gets stuck between the teeth and is not removed. Food which is stuck for a long time may cause an infection that results in a localised form of gingivitis. This plaque formation results in an infection.
While oral hygiene is the most commonest cause. Their could be many more causes. According Dr Salahuddin, a dentist; the other causes of gingivitis could be hormonal imbalance, drug related gingivitis, hypertension related gingivitis and diabetes related gingivitis. The drugs taken for leprosy and hypertension may also cause gingivitis as they may affect the saliva production or the blood flow in the mouth which ultimately results in gingivitis. Gingivitis can happen at any age although the causes may vary depending on the age.
According to Dr Salahuddin, “A person suffering from gingivitis may experience a tingling sensation from deep inside the gums, bleeding or an increased bleeding in the gums. People suffering from gingivitis may also find even simple daily food very spicy and find it difficult to eat.” He adds that bleeding of the gums is a common symptom most people may notice. This is especially noticeable in the mornings.
The first and most important aspect while treating gingivitis is to identify the cause. When gingivitis occurs in people who are below the age of 25-30 it is a generic form of gingivitis, Dr Salahuddin mentions that if someone is above the age of 35 or 40 factors such as dietaries could be responsible. “Gingivitis in a mild form usually reduces after teeth are cleaned by the dentist. Gingivitis caused due to the formation of plaque can range from mild to severe. On the other hand gingivitis caused to due leprosy drugs can be severe, thus may not recede with the help of cleaning. In such a case a surgery called gingivactomy has to be performed,” says Dr Tanuja.
Another method is called root planning. Explains Dr Salahuddin, “In severe cases root planning may be done in which scaling is done for a crossed tooth area. For other forms of gingivitis such as that caused by dietaries, the patient is first advised to get their dietaries under control then only any other kind of treatment can be undertaken.” Dr Tanuja adds that the treatment and recovery from gingivitis varies from case to case. In certain cases even laser treatment can be done.
As they say, it is important to prevent any kind of ailment. “In order to prevent gingivitis is important that one keeps the teeth healthy, massage your gums and visit your dentist at least once a year,”says Dr Tanuja. “It is important to brush immediately after having spicy food, even if it is with just water. Another effective way to maintain oral hygiene is to gargle with warm salt water before going to bed. Use lukewarm water while brushing teeth as it can penetrate deep into the tissues,” suggests Dr Salahuddin.
It is also advised to avoid using toothpicks to remove food as it may cause an injury in the gums.