Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums (Latin: gingivae), and inflammation is simply the body’s immune response to an attack.
The main cause of gingivitis is bacteria in plaque, which constantly forms in our mouths. Another cause is trauma, which takes many forms: poorly fitting braces, dentures, bridges, fillings, or rough brushing and flossing.
Some 50% of Americans have gingivitis and 90% have had it, but fortunately it is easy to prevent and cure.
Gingivitis is caused by plaque and by trauma, and treatment of gingivitis must fit the cause to be effective. To relieve sore gums, rinse your mouth with warm salt water and take anti-inflammatory medicine.
Bacteria in plaque trigger the body’s immune response. Inflammation is the standard way that the body fights foreign bodies, such as plaque’s bacteria. Thus treating gingivitis calls for combating plaque. To combat plaque, practice good oral hygiene. Mouth rinses based on hydrogen peroxide also are effective (try one month) – click here for study.
Trauma releases, from cells into bloodstream, mitochondria that resemble bacteria, triggering the body’s immune response. (See how trauma causes inflammation.) Thus treating gingivitis calls for avoiding further trauma. For example, if you brush and floss too vigorously, be gentler. If braces, bridges, fillings or dentures are ill-fitting next to gingivitis, have them re-fitted.
To prevent gingivitis, practice good oral hygiene and avoid trauma to the gums.
The onset of gingivitis can make recovery harder, however. It is now known that gum disease bacteria manipulate the body’s immune system to disable normal processes that would otherwise destroy the bacteria.
There are factors that increase the risk of gingivitis. These include:
Stay vigilant of gingivitis, if you are subject to these risk factors.
In 1997, the FDA reviewed strong evidence that triclosan, a chemical then added to Colgate Total toothpastes, was effective to prevent gingivitis. Since then, several studies have confirmed triclosan’s gingivitis-combating benefit.
Yet triclosan seems to bring risks to health as well: