Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums caused by a film of plaque, or bacteria, which has accumulated on the teeth. This is the first stage of gum disease.

Gingivitis presents itself in a number of common symptoms, these include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen/inflamed or red gums
  • Bad breath
  • Heavy tartar build-up
  • Sensitive teeth

Of course, the presence of some or all of these symptoms does not mean a person definitely has gingivitis, neither does the absence of any one of them rule out the presence of gingivitis.

To use an example, smokers are more susceptible to gum disease than non-smokers and yet the symptom of bleeding gums can be absent because smoking reduces the blood supply to the gums.

Some people with chronic gingivitis may also not exhibit the symptoms listed above and incorrectly assume they are not at risk.

Gingivitis is reversible and tackling the gum problem at this stage is of prime importance because – and here’s a spoiler alert – if it progresses to periodontitis the damage is irreversible.

Gingivitis can be kept at bay by following good oral hygiene, though this isn’t to imply that having gingivitis is a sign someone has neglected their teeth, the fact it is so common demonstrates just how difficult it is to avoid.

Brushing and flossing alone will not remove gingivitis once it has set in, you need to pair a thorough home routine with professional treatment. Seeing a hygienist and maintaining regular appointments is the most effective and safest way to completely treat gingivitis (your hygienist will tell you how often you need to have treatment, dependent on your own oral health).

The likelihood of it returning can be reduced by making sensible changes to diet – avoiding sugary and acidic food and drink where possible for instance, and also, if possible, quitting or cutting back on smoking.

If you have noticed any of the symptoms mentioned above the starting point will be to see a dentist for an examination of your mouth, teeth and gums.

It is impossible to know if you have gingivitis or periodontitis without seeing a professional. They will then advise whether you need to see a hygienist or periodontist.

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease.

What if I don’t treat my gingivitis?

Left untreated, not only can gingivitis progress to periodontitis and subsequent bone loss, but the plaque and inflammation from gingivitis can result in bacteria entering the bloodstream and having a negative effect on your overall health.

Next Steps – See a Dentist and Hygienist!

With the symptoms for gingivitis and periodontitis so similar, it is often impossible for any potential sufferer to know which of the two they have (if either).

Since neither can be remedied at home alone, it is important to arrange an appointment with a dentist and hygienist to have the teeth and gums assessed and remedial action taken as required.

All of our dental hygienists in London are skilled in assessing the health of gums and providing unparalleled treatment. The prevalence of gum disease means it is a condition they treat daily so there is no need for embarrassment in having gum problems. With up to 90% of adults similarly affected you are not in a minority!

If you have been referred to see a periodontist by your current dentist or hygienist, you can also see our periodontist.

Book an appointment online or give us a call.

Do you have a specific question?

Get in touch with us today.