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Gingivitis is the most typical and benign type of oraldisease, and is mostly induced by plaque. According to the Food and DrugAdministration, 15% of adults between the ages of 21 and 50, as well as 30% ofthose over 50, are affected by some form of gingivitis. Gingivitis ischaracterized by inflammation and bleeding of the gums, and due to the factthat it is mostly painless in its early stages, most cases go unnoticed until harshirritation or diminishing of the gums appears. Plaque induced gingivitis is themost common type, and if left untreated can escalate to periodontitis. Gingivitisdoes not necessarily lead to periodontitis, but periodontitis is always precededby gingivitis.

Classification ofGingivitis

Plaque-induced, and non-plaque-induced gingivitis are thetwo main categories of the disease, with each having a legion of subcategories.Some of the plaque-induced groups include gingivitis modified by systemicfactors, medications and malnutrition. Non-plaque induced gingivitissubcategories are gingivitis caused by various kinds of origins, such asbacterial, viral, fungal, and genetic origin. Other causes of gingivitis may involvesystemic conditions, traumatic lesions, outside objects reactions, and nototherwise specified gingivitis.

Signs and Symptoms ofGingivitis

Gingivitis appears in the form of swollen gums, red orpurple gums, gums sensitive to touch, and bleeding gums. In addition, the gumsmay appear shiny, and there can be discharge of an unpleasant scent.

Causes of Gingivitis

For plaque-induced gingivitis is the most ordinary form of thedisease, the rest of the sections will largely deal with these kinds of cases. Plaque,a gummy film that forms on the surface of teeth, is the main cause of gingivitis.It is produced when starches and sugar meet with bacteria that are found in themouth. Plaque gathers in between the teeth and gums, in cracked fillings, aswell as around badly cleaned bridges, braces, and partial dentures. Unlessplaque is cleansed thoroughly within 72 hours, it will form tartar that cannotbe removed by home care products.

Additional Causes ofGingivitis

Aside from poor oral hygiene, there are other factors thatwill cause gingivitis. Certain medications, such as cold remedies and tricyclicantidepressants, are responsible for plaque and tartar formation, since theydecrease saliva production. Oral contraceptives are also known to contribute togingivitis. Anti seizure drugs, calcium channel blockers, anti-hypertensiondrugs, and drugs that restrain the immune system may often produce theovergrowth of gum tissue. This conditionis called gingival hyperplasia and it makes plaque removal that much more difficult.Also, Herpes virus causes swollen gums and sores on the mouth, whereas overspreadof Candida in the mouth creates white coating infections that advance from insideof the cheeks and mouth onto the gums. Further, leukemia and Fanconi anemia, arare genetic disorder of the bone marrow, make patients more prone toinfections and vulnerable to gum diseases. During pregnancy and menopause,women are more sensitive to gingivitis because of diminished salvation andblood supply to the gums. Poor nutritional habits, such as lack of calcium,vitamin C, and the B vitamins additionally play a role in periodontitis formation.Smoking is known to be a crucial factor causing gum disease, making smokers farmore susceptible to periodontitis than non smokers. Finally, stress anddepression provoke periodontitis as they trigger behaviours such as poor oral hygieneand smoking.


When signs of gingivitis first appear it is advised that onesees a dentist or a dental hygienist. The dental professionals will examine thegums for the amount of plaque, and test for signs of periodontitis using X rays.If the gingivitis does not react to treatment the person will be referred to aperiodontist. As previously mentioned, untreated gingivitis can lead toperiodontitis, which is a more serious condition where gums and bones separatefrom teeth, forming pockets that collect bacteria and debris. Eventually, thebacteria will resolve bone and tissue that hold teeth in place, causing teethloss. Also, some studies suggest that periodontitis is passed on from parentsto children, and even transferred within couples, so it is advised that if onefamily member has been diagnosed with periodontitis, all family members shouldhave professional checkups.


Treatment for gingivitis is directed at plaque removal, or minimizationof bacteria in the mouth, and is performed at a dental office, as well as athome by proper oral hygiene products. Aside from previously mentioned methods forreducing plaque, essential oil based mouthwashes have proven to be particularlyhelpful.


Complications produced by gingivitis include loss of teeth,frequent reappearance of gingivitis, appearance of periodontitis, bacterialinfection of the gums, and infection or swelling of the gingiva, as well as thejaw bones.

Mortality Statisticson Gingivitis and Periodontitis

According to the World Health Organization, and the datagathered in January 2004, gingivitis related illnesses such as periodontaldiseases, acute and chronic gingivitis, acute and chronic periodontitis, andperiodontosis have been linked to a number of deaths around the world. Morespecifically, gingivitis related disorders have been connected to 10 deaths inMexico, 4 deaths in the United States, and Brazil, 2 deaths in Chile and Japan,1 death in Lithuania, Poland, Norway, Korea, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Nicaragua,Germany, and Venezuela. These finding make up for 32 deaths, 2.1 on average percountry involved in the research. The findings include all ages and sexes. Notethat rather than being true indices of the number of deaths linked to an exactcause, these statistics disclose more about the reporting processes of these counties.


Gingivitis is easily preventable by daily brushing,flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, as well as using interdental brushes. Usinghydrogen peroxide based mouthwashes, and toothpastes containing triclosan haveshown to be particularly helpful in the recent years, along with professionalcleaning by a dental hygienist. Also, research on calcium consumption andperiodontal disease of nearly 13 000 US adults found that men and women,especially in their 20s and 30s, with daily calcium intake lower than 500milligrams, or half of the recommended dosage, were twice as likely to developgum disease. Furthermore, physicians from the Institute of Good Medicine at thePennsylvania Medical Society claim that proper oral hygiene can prevent heartproblems caused by infections that move through the body via bloodstream.

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