Treatment of Gingivitis and Periodontitis
In almost all cases, gingivitis, or gum disease, is caused by improper cleaning of the teeth and gums. Although it is possible to help treat gum disease at home, it’s always best to see a dentist for a proper evaluation and treatment. If your problem is how long does it take to get rid of gingivitis, then do know that proper brushing, flossing, gargling, and irrigating can all help prevent gum disease in the first place.
How to Get Rid of Gingivitis Fast
(Before It Worsens Develop into Periodontitis):
1. Know the symptoms of gingivitis.
Gingivitis can progress through its early stages with very few visible symptoms. When gingivitis worsens and advances into full-blown periodontitis, the symptoms are usually:
- Bleeding in the gums after brushing teeth
- Gums that are tender, swollen, and redder than usual
- Persistent bad breath (halitosis)
- Receding gum lines
- Deep pockets between teeth and gums, causing loose teeth
2. Understand how plaque causes problems.
Food trapped under the gums combines with bacteria to create plaque, a “toxic stew” that irritates the gums and makes them bleed.
- This colorless film of sticky material containing food particles, bacteria, and saliva attaches itself to the tooth above and below the gum line, encouraging advanced gum disease and tooth decay. Plaque, the “toxic stew,” hardens into tartar (calculus) in just 24 hours. By then the damage is done — only a dentist can remove tartar. Each day this “contaminated crust” grows and inflames the gums.
- For this reason, you need to remove plaque every day, no matter what, to avoid advanced gum disease. But brushing alone does not remove the plaque; it needs thorough cleaning.
3. Know the non-surgical dental options.
Most treatments for gum disease involve the dentist, although keeping the disease at bay is at least half of the problem. If you have mild gingivitis, consider the following non-surgical gingivitis treatments:
- Professional cleaning. Your dentist may recommend that you get your teeth and gums professionally cleaned twice a year if your gingivitis is prone to developing. The dentist administering the cleaning will remove both plaque and tartar above and below the gum line.
- Scaling and root planing. Like professional cleaning, this method is administered under a local anesthetic. The patient’s plaque and tartar is scraped away (scaling) and rough spots are smoothed away (planing). This procedure is usually done if the dentist determines that plaque and tartar underneath the gum line needs to be removed.
4. Know the surgical dental options.
- Flap surgery and pocket reduction. This surgery reduces the space between the gum and the tooth by lifting the gum flaps up, removing plaque and tartar, and placing the gums snugly against the tooth again.
- Soft tissue grafts. Tissue, taken mostly from the roof of the mouth, is grafted onto the gums in order to reinforce receding gums or fill in places where gums are thin.
- Bone grafts/surgery. Bone grafts give your old, diseased bone a new platform on which to regrow itself, adding stability to teeth. Bone grafts can either be your own bone, donated bone, or synthetic bone. Bone surgery involves smoothing out holes and craters in the existing bone, usually after flap surgery. Bone surgery makes it more difficult for bacteria to lodge themselves in the bone, causing further deterioration.
- Tissue regeneration. If the bone supporting your teeth has been completely eroded by gum disease, this procedure will help support both bone and tissue regeneration by surgically installing a piece of mesh-like fabric between the bone and gum tissue. This procedure is usually done in tandem with flap surgery.
5. Help yourself!
Regardless of what happens in the dental chair, it’s what happens in your bathroom that determines the success or failure of your gum disease treatments.
- Note that most home remedies such as salves and creams merely treat the inflammation symptoms and don’t remove the popcorn kernels or the plaque build up that ultimately leads to gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Reversing and preventing gum disease is all about daily plaque control. That means, in most cases, stopping the plaque in your mouth is really in your own hands. Brushing every day is a good start, but it is not enough especially if not done right.
6. Use oral irrigation.
Oral irrigation is an effective gum disease treatment that dental professionals recommend for daily plaque control. An oral irrigator is attached to a water source such as a sink tap or shower head. They flood the mouth and gum pockets with a jet of water under pressure to flush offending food particles and bacteria from below the gum line.
- Research at the UNMC College of Dentistry, Lincoln, NE indicates “that when combined with brushing, oral irrigation is an effective alternative to brushing and flossing for reducing bleeding, gingival inflammation, and plaque removal.”
- Some dentists still recommend flossing. The site of the infection is anywhere from 4 to 10 mm deep. The floss will reach 2 or 3 mm at most. (The big question here is, “How does rubbing a piece of string (floss) on my tooth cure an infection deep into my gums? Increasing circulation is not a reason to just floss.)
- Oral irrigation is effective for another reason. Unlike flossing, irrigating is a pleasant experience you will want to repeat every day. And it takes only 15 seconds.
How to Get Rid of Gingivitis at Home:
TIP/WARNING: In treating gingivitis, know that most of the following steps are unverified home remedies.
In the best interest of your dental health, it is advised to visit your dentist and only combine the following home remedies with dentist-recommended advice. Do not use solely as a substitute for dental treatment.
1. Try oral probiotics.
Oral probiotics contain “good” bacteria that assist in restoring the natural balance of bacteria in the mouth after use of oral antiseptics found in mouthwashes and toothpastes.
- Some oral probiotics contain a bacteria called Lactobacillus reuteri (Prodentis), which is naturally found in breast milk and saliva. This bacteria is recommended especially during non-surgical therapy while maintaining other gingivitis treatments.
2. Try ubiquinone.
Ubiquinone, also known as Coenzyme Q10, essentially helps convert fats and sugars into energy. In addition to being used to treat diabetes and congestive heart failure, ubiquinone is used to treat gum disease. The FDA, however, has not cleared ubiquinone as medically-appropriate to treat any disease, so ubiquinone should not be used solely to treat gum disease.
3. Try a peroxide oral rinse.
An oral rinse that contains hydrogen peroxide, such as Colgate Peroxyl, is an antiseptic and antibacterial that helps treat infection and relieve inflammation when it comes in contact with an enzyme in the mouth.
4. Use corsodyl spray.
Corsodyl spray is a powerful spray that contains chlorhexidine gluconate, which has antibacterial and anti-plaque properties. Corsodyl spray is also used to treat any pain or discomfort associated with mouth ulcers, inflammation, and infections of the mouth.
- Corsodyl spray can be used when brushing the teeth becomes difficult and/or painful, such as after surgery. Be sure to keep spray out of ears and eyes.
5. Try Gengigel Gel.
This gel contains hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in the body and can be used to heal certain wounds and stimulate the production of new tissue. For best results, apply at night before going to sleep.
Adapted from How to Get Rid of Gingivitis.