Gingivitis is a condition caused by the buildup of bacteria in the gums. There are many types of bacteria involved, but they all go by the universal name of plaque. Plaque is made up of bacteria, mucus and small particles of food. With regular brushing, most plaque can be removed, but if the bacteria remain for more than two days, it begins building a wall between the teeth and gum tissue called tartar. Only a dental professional can remove the tartar from your teeth. The warning signs of gingivitis will be an inflammation of the gums, turning them red instead of pink and easy bleeding around the gums and teeth.

Who is Prone to Gingivitis?

While home care is the most effective way to prevent gingivitis there are some conditions that make a person more prone to developing it. Hereditary factors, along with diabetes and frequent allergy sufferers are particularly prone to gingivitis. Other diseases that tend to augment the built up of bacteria leading to gingivitis, are AIDS and leukemia.

Gingivitis can also occur from what you take or don’t take into your body. Smoking can trigger gingivitis, as can certain medications, such as birth control pills. Gingivitis can occur if you don’t take enough vitamin C (scurvy) or niacin (vitamin B3).

Metabolism changes can cause gingivitis. It often appears in puberty or in pregnant women. Pregnant women, especially, are prone to gingivitis. Hormonal changes and tartar combine to promote an excessive growth of gum tissue.

Home Remedies for Gingivitis

There are things you can do at home to prevent gingivitis from becoming a more serious condition called periodontitis. Start by using that dental floss. Use it before brushing your teeth, so you can loosen anything caught between your teeth. Next, use your mouthwash. Rinsing before you brush will remove the loosened particles and prevent removal of the fluoride after brushing. Last, use your toothbrush. Remember to brush all the way up to the gum line. Angle the brush at 45° and make small circles. Don’t forget the biting surfaces and back of the teeth as well!

Scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper or the back of your toothbrush. This will help get rid of bacteria as well as freshen up bad breath.

Having your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis can help prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, but if you notice between cleanings that your gums are red or swollen call to have an evaluation.