Welcome to our comprehensive guide on gingivitis, a common gum disease affecting millions of people worldwide. In this article, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment options for gingivitis, providing you with all the information you need to maintain optimal oral health

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes inflammation of the gums. It is commonly caused by poor oral hygiene, allowing plaque to build up on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. When not removed through regular brushing and flossing, plaque can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to gingivitis.

Causes of gingivitis

Several factors contribute to the development of gingivitis. The most common cause is inadequate oral hygiene. Failing to brush and floss regularly allows plaque to accumulate, leading to gum inflammation. Other factors that can increase the risk of gingivitis include hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, certain medications that reduce saliva flow, smoking, diabetes, and genetic predisposition.

It’s important to note that even individuals with excellent oral hygiene can develop gingivitis if they have other risk factors. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings can help identify and treat gingivitis in its early stages.

Symptoms of gingivitis

Recognising the early warning signs of gingivitis is crucial for timely intervention. While some individuals may not experience any noticeable symptoms, others may notice:

Inflammation of the gums is a common symptom of gingivitis. The gums may appear red, shiny, and swollen.

Gingivitis can cause the gums to bleed during brushing, flossing, or even when eating certain foods.

Persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a sign of gingivitis. The bacteria in plaque release toxins that contribute to foul-smelling breath.

As gingivitis progresses, the gums may start to pull away from the teeth, causing them to appear longer.

The gums may become more sensitive to touch, heat, cold, and pressure.

Complications of untreated gingivitis

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis involves not only inflammation of the gums but also damage to the underlying bone and connective tissues that support the teeth. This can lead to tooth loss and other serious complications. Additionally, research has linked gum disease to an increased risk of systemic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections.

Early intervention and proper treatment can help prevent the progression of gingivitis to periodontitis and reduce the risk of associated complications.

Diagnosis of gingivitis

Diagnosing gingivitis typically involves a comprehensive dental examination. During this examination, your dentist will visually inspect your gums for signs of inflammation, bleeding, and plaque buildup. They may also use a periodontal probe to measure the depth of the spaces between your gums and teeth, known as periodontal pockets. X-rays may be taken to assess the extent of bone loss and determine the severity of the gum disease.

If you suspect you have gingivitis, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Treatment options for gingivitis

The primary goal of treating gingivitis is to control the inflammation and prevent the progression of the disease. Treatment options for gingivitis may include:

A professional dental cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, is usually the first line of treatment for gingivitis. This procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and roots, smoothing out rough surfaces to prevent bacteria from adhering to them.

Your dentist may prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash to help reduce the bacterial load in your mouth and control the inflammation. It is important to follow the instructions provided by your dentist and use the mouthwash as directed.

Chronic bad breath that is not improved by oral hygiene practices may be a sign of gum disease.

Good oral hygiene habits are paramount in treating and preventing gingivitis. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Your dentist may also recommend using interdental brushes or water flossers to clean between your teeth and along the gumline.

Making certain lifestyle changes can help improve the health of your gums. Quitting smoking, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy diet can all contribute to healthier gums and overall oral health.

Home remedies for gingivitis

In addition to professional treatment, several home remedies can help alleviate the symptoms of gingivitis and promote gum health. These include:

Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater can help reduce inflammation and soothe irritated gums. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish the solution around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil or sesame oil in your mouth for about 15 minutes and then spitting it out. This ancient Ayurvedic practice is believed to have antimicrobial properties that can help reduce plaque and inflammation.

Applying aloe vera gel directly to your gums can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Look for a pure aloe vera gel or extract and apply a small amount to the affected areas.

Diluting a few drops of tea tree oil in water and using it as a mouthwash can help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. However, it is important to use tea tree oil with caution as it can cause irritation if used in excessive amounts.

It is important to note that while these home remedies can provide temporary relief, they should not replace professional dental treatment. It is always best to consult with your dentist before trying any home remedies.

Prevention of gingivitis

Preventing gingivitis starts with maintaining good oral hygiene practices. Here are some tips to help prevent gingivitis:

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums.

Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline, where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash to help reduce the bacterial load and control plaque buildup.

Regular dental check-ups are essential for early detection and treatment of gum disease. Your dentist can also provide professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar.

A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help support good oral health. Limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods, as they can contribute to plaque formation.

Smoking weakens the immune system and reduces blood flow to the gums, making it harder for your body to fight off infections and heal gum tissue.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing gingivitis and other gum diseases.

When to see a dentist for gingivitis

If you suspect you have gingivitis or notice any signs of gum disease, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Early intervention is key to preventing the progression of gingivitis and reducing the risk of complications. Your dentist can evaluate your oral health, provide appropriate treatment, and give you personalised advice on maintaining optimal oral hygiene.


Gingivitis is a common gum disease that can be prevented and treated with proper oral hygiene practices and regular dental care. By recognising the early warning signs, seeking timely treatment, and adopting good oral hygiene habits, you can maintain optimal gum health and prevent the progression of gingivitis to more severe forms of gum disease. Remember, your oral health is an essential part of your overall well-being, so take care of your gums and enjoy a brighter, healthier smile!



  • Zachary Brian, DMD, MHA; Jane A. Weintraub, DDS, MPH. (August 2020). Oral Health and COVID-19: Increasing the Need for Prevention and Access. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
  • MedlinePlus: National Library of Medicine. Gingivitis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.

Looking for a Cosmetic Dentist to enhance your smile but not sure what treatments would work for you?

Look no further than our No Obligation Cosmetic Smile Evaluation.

Our comprehensive evaluation, which includes a teeth assessment and head x-ray, equips our expert dentist Burwood to offer you personalized cosmetic treatment advice tailored to your oral health and facial structure. Aimed at enhancing your smile to its fullest potential, our no-obligation consultation will empower you with in-depth knowledge and recommendations.

Start your smile transformation journey today!

Get In Touch With Us Today!

*Some appointments require a refundable deposit during peak hour times.