Diagnosing and Preventing Gingivitis

Your health is important to you, right? And if your health is important to you, fighting gingivitis should be important to you. This is because to keep yourself healthy you need to prevent toxins and bacteria and from entering your body.

Because your mouth is such a target for bacteria, poor oral hygiene or preventive care can cause the early stages of gum disease, also known as gingivitis.

Periodontal disease is common in Australia with nearly a quarter of the population suffering from it. Those over 65 have rates approaching 53%. And the first step to periodontal disease is nearly always gingivitis, or inflammation of gums.

By educating yourself about gum disease and its symptoms, you’ll know if or when you’re developing a problem that requires gingivitis treatment. Once you are aware of signs to look for, you’ll also have a sense of how to prevent gingivitis or catch it early enough to reverse it.

To help you with this task, your Glen Waverley dentist has put together this handy collection of information about gingivitis, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Causes of Gingivitis

The most common cause of gingivitis is bacterial plaque among and surrounding the teeth. This plaque sets off an immune response that can eventually destroy gum tissue. It may also cause further complications, including the loss of teeth.

When plaque is not removed adequately, it hardens into calculus, or tartar, at the base of the teeth, near the gums. Calculus can only be removed by EK Dental Surgery; it cannot be removed at home.

Other causes and risk factors
  • Hormonal changes.
  • Systematic diseases: Cancer, diabetes, and HIV are linked to a higher risk of gingivitis.
  • Drugs: Medications can affect dental health, especially if saliva flow is decreased.
  • Smoking and other substance problems: Regular smokers more commonly develop gingivitis, compared with non-smokers. The same is true for heavy drinkers and users of many recreational drugs.
  • Age: The risk of gingivitis increases with age.
  • Poor diet: A vitamin-C deficiency, for example, is linked to gum disease.
  • Family susceptibility.
What To Check For

Gingivitis is often painless in its first stages, so it is critical to examine your teeth and gums while flossing to spot signs of early trouble.

  • Examine your toothbrush. If you there is any pink on the bristles (or when you rinse your mouth), your gums may be bleeding, which can indicate early stages of infection.
  • Check your gum colour. Gums in the first stages of gingivitis may appear dull and red, even purple, rather than bright and pink
  • Check gum texture. Gums in the early stages of gingivitis may be soft and inflamed. Healthy gums should be firm and they should fit snugly around the teeth.
Dealing with Gingivitis

It comes down to simple prevention tactics and dental treatment if gingivitis sets in too deeply.


We are all familiar with the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is true of gingivitis as well – try and eliminate as many of the causes as possible. Some of the reasons people get gingivitis can’t be changed, but here are a few things you can do to fight it off.

  • Be certain to brush your teeth at least twice daily: in the morning and when you go to bed at night. If you can brush your teeth after meals, that is even better. Good dental hygiene is the simplest way to protect your gums, teeth, and bones.
  • Stop smoking. When you stop smoking you not only help your teeth and gums but your overall health as well, which in turn supports your teeth and gums.
  • If you are diabetic, make sure your blood sugar levels are in the right ranges. In fact, if you have any chronic disease, your chances of gingivitis may increase.
  • Ask your doctor if your medications may cause periodontal problems.

If your only symptom is bleeding gums, the treatment is to brush and floss your teeth as EK Dental Surgery recommends. We will be happy to give you a refresher course on how to properly brush and floss. A recommended mouthwash may also be useful.  Finally, check with us to be sure you don’t have any other symptoms. But if that doesn’t work, it’s time to turn to us for an answer!

The most important and easiest treatment is having EK Dental Surgery perform a dental cleaning twice a year. That removes the hard calculus deposits from your teeth. Routine brushing and flossing can’t remove calculus. This is why we recommend prevention so strongly!

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Call (03) 9887 8787 or visit us at 230 Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.

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