Gingivitis is the initial, early stage of gum disease and describes the irritation, redness and inflammation (swelling) of your gingiva, which is the part of the gum around the base of your teeth.

Gingivitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A condition that needs to be taken seriously; if allowed to progress, it can turn into more serious periodontal disease, which has been known to cause tooth loss and reduction of bone in the jaw.

If you suspect that you have gingivitis or gum disease, we recommend coming into our office to undergo an assessment with one of our periodontists to distinguish which stage of gum disease you might be experiencing. Getting gingivitis treated now can save so many headaches and problems in the future.

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Our patients often ask:

Here are fast answers from the dentist regarding the patient’s biggest concerns around gingivitis…

How do you fix gingivitis? Gingivitis can be easily reversed with rigorous oral hygiene and cleaning.

How long does it take to get rid of gingivitis? Those with gingivitis because of poor oral hygiene can expect to reverse the effects in around 10-14 days.

How do you know if you have gingivitis? Your gums will appear red, swollen and will bleed when you brush, eat or floss. Bad breath and tenderness is also a sign.

What are the early stages of gingivitis? Bleeding is one of the earliest and most common warning signs of gingivitis.

Gingivitis symptoms

How do you know if you have gingivitis?

  • Bleeding on probing, brushing, flossing, eating etc
  • Tender, sore or swollen gums that do not go away
  • Bad breath that does not go away
  • Bad/metallic taste in the mouth
  • Receding or painful gums
  • Loose teeth/changes in the way your teeth bite down
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
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Common causes

Gingivitis commonly occurs due to a sticky film of bacteria or plaque accumulating and building upon the teeth. When permitted to harden, the plaque turns into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional.

What causes gingivitis?

  • Smoking/tobacco use
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Not cleaning away plaque correctly
  • Stress and hormonal changes
  • Poor nutrition

Common causes

Gingivitis commonly occurs due to a sticky film of bacteria or plaque accumulates and builds upon the teeth. When permitted to harden, the plaque turns into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional.

What causes gingivitis?

  • Smoking/tobacco use
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Not cleaning away plaque correctly
  • Stress and hormonal changes
  • Poor nutrition
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Why you need to understand plaque

Gums attach to the teeth at a lower point. This forms a space called the sulcus, where food often gets trapped.

When the food is not cleaned away, it becomes trapped in this space and then causes a gum infection (gingivitis).

Plaque is a very thin film of bacteria which constantly forms on the surface of the teeth.

As this plaque advances, it gets harder and turns into tartar. This cannot be removed through cleaning alone.

Left unchecked and ignored, gingivitis can quickly cause the gums to separate from the teeth, which leaves the tooth vulnerable as it becomes unstable, loose and wobbly.

This is often a sure sign of receding gums. If the infection progresses, you will ultimately lose your teeth.

Gingivitis vs Periodontitis

You do not want to hear these two words from your dentist. But what’s the difference between these two very serious diseases?

Gingivitis is a gum inflammation which, more often than not, proceeds into periodontitis (the leading cause of tooth loss in adults).

The main difference between the two of them is that gingivitis is reversible, periodontitis is not. Patients should be concerned about displaying gingivitis symptoms because these warning signs point to bigger problems like periodontal disease.

Once you have progressed to periodontitis, it poses risks for further dental procedures like implants (for tooth loss), which require a healthy mouth and sufficient bone. Both of which gum disease destroys.

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Gingivitis treatment – is it curable?

Not all gingivitis cases progress to periodontitis.

Gingivitis can often be taken care of at home. However, due to the seriousness surrounding the progression of the infection, it is always best to consult a dentist to ensure you are doing everything you can to reverse the effects.

The best thing we can do to treat gingivitis during this early gum disease stage is effective cleaning, where you must maintain a good oral standard at home.

How to cure gingivitis in a week

  • Use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste
  • Use an anti-gingivitis mouthwash
  • Brush your teeth and gums for 2 minutes twice daily
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months
  • Check your gums in the mirror often to notice changes in colour or texture
  • Cut back in foods that are high in sugar

Continuing to do this routine after getting rid of gingivitis will act as a good preventative measure to keep it from ever returning.

As dentists, we recommend visiting a hygienist every six months for a deep clean to ensure your gums are in good condition.

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Scared about the progression of your gingivitis?

The only true way to see the state of your oral health is by booking an appointment with the dentist, who can assess your condition.

For any of our patients considering dental implants, gingivitis will need to be looked at and treated before we can safely and securely position an implant as this can cause implant failure.

Call 020 8224 7562 to review your options now.

Dawn SwansonDawn Swanson
10:27 24 Nov 22
I have been with the Gentle Dental Practice for 8 years, the care and service I have received has always been 5 star. I have recently used their new hygienist Nicky who is great. Looking for a new dentist just contact their very friendly and proffessional team.
George HorseyGeorge Horsey
18:54 15 Nov 22
Dental Impant Surgery:I had my dental implants fitted recently and I am extremely happy with the outcome. Ali and the team have done an amazing job since I lost my 2 front teeth over 6 years ago. I had to wait for the surgery for a long time due to my age and the issues surrounding having implants at a young age.I finally had the surgery 12 weeks ago and had my two new crowns fitted last week. They look absolutely amazing and the whole procedure was way less painful than I ever thought it would be.I would highly recommend getting your implants done at the Gentle Dental Practice, you won't regret it!A massive thank you to everyone at the practice!
Deeban SkandalingamDeeban Skandalingam
12:06 03 Nov 22
Fantastic work on my teeth and I would highly recommend! My teeth turned out better than I had even hoped for. If you are in need of any dental work, you would be doing a great disservice if you didn't speak to this practice first. The staff were extremely friendly, there were text updates and all in all an excellent service from start to finish. If you haven't guessed already, I am thoroughly pleased with The Gentle Dentle. Thank you!
Pippa HarveyPippa Harvey
14:54 26 Oct 22
Like many people, I have an immense fear of dentistry, and dentists, due to previous experiences.I had two broken teeth and one that had been treated incorrectly by an NHS dentist. I had been in daily pain for about 18 months, and had been put on a 6 month waiting list by my NHS dentist.I called gentle dental to explain my problem and they offered me a same day appointment. They were kind, compassionate, understanding, patient and validating. I’m not sure anybody ever feels completely comfortable in the chair, but It’s the closest I’ve ever come!The work needed was carried out, all of the staff were kind and welcoming, and it showed me that the dentist doesn’t have to be a dreaded place!Thank you so, so much gentle dental! I will definitely be returning.
Tilesh PTilesh P
15:45 14 Sep 22
Dental Implants - 3 New Teeth - June 2022I had the most professional and pain free experience when getting my new tooth implants at Gentle Dental. Honestly I put it off for some many years because I just didn't want to go through the pain. But my experience was totally the opposite. Ali and the wonderful girls were there every step of the way. All my questions got answered and I was reassured everything would work out well. And it did. I was worried for no reason.I did think about going abroad to have it done but when you consider the risk factor, time and professional standards - it made no sense to me. I have known Ali for a long time and knew I would be in the best hands and if there were any issues these would could be resolved easily.If you are thinking of having dental implants at Gentle - don't waste any more time. Just book and get it done.Was it painful ? No, uncomfortable for a few days, yes for sure.I just wish I had it done sooner. Thanks guys, love my new teeth 🙂
Edward CrameEdward Crame
13:43 04 Dec 21
Very happy with all aspects of the work they have done. Very clean, professional and well run business.
Lynn HuddartLynn Huddart
12:43 24 Nov 21
Dr Ali Rifai was professional and I am very pleased with the outcome of my Invisalign's. I have been with this practice for many years and would highly recommend. The staff are very friendly and nothing is an issue.
Jonathan PlumbJonathan Plumb
11:52 24 Nov 21
Can't thank this practice enough for all their help. I don't post reviews very often, so when I do, it's because an impression has been left! Dr Ali saw me at short notice to help fix a broken tooth. The nurse (I think her name was Danni) was so helpful and kind, as were the rest of the team. Thank you for being there for me in my hour of need (the same day i asked for an appointment!)
Eva AugustEva August
07:11 06 Nov 21
I’m so happy to find this practice. I suffer from anxiety and high sensitivity to pain. It was very stressful for me going to dentist after years of fear. The team not only make me calm and welcome but I FELL ASLEEP during treatment with Dr Marshall ! So understanding and caring. Thank you!
Marc NevittMarc Nevitt
11:35 11 Oct 21
I have been using this dentist for well over a decade and can honestly say my teeth would be in a far worse situation if wasn’t for the Gentle Dental practice.My most recent visit was for a filling .. barely felt the injection!I would highly recommend this dentist to anyone, but especially if you’re teeth require a high level of care like mine.
Emma BrauerEmma Brauer
08:44 04 Aug 21
This place was recommended to me by family and for a nervous patient the best experience. The reception welcome is cheerful and friendly, beautifully modern area with hot drinks and water on offer.I needed implants, crowns and bridges followed by whitening, so lots of appointments. My dentist Mr Ali Rafai was superb from start to finish, so professional and personable. Throughout the whole process I was cared for wonderfully plus lots of laughs along the way. The constant care during appointments was very comforting, no rushing, and I knew I my needs were Mr Rafai's priority. Plus check up call the next day without fail to make sure everything was going well.Absolutely deserves five stars!
Alan SamuelAlan Samuel
13:30 14 Jul 21
Fantastic experience with Ali. It took 18 months including bone grafting, removing and replacing failed dental implants, invisaline for my bottom teeth which were all over the place and some veneers but now I'm delighted with the outcome.Ali was always very clear about how this wasn't an overnight solution in an honest and forthright manner which gave me confidence that he would deliver results.I was offered several overnight solutions from other dentists locally at a fraction of the cost but when I see how much effort and detail that went into my plan, I know i made the right choice.
Kurt JohnsonKurt Johnson
17:48 14 May 21
I have got no complaints about this Dental Practice. They were all very friendly and accommodating and always professional.My dental treatment was also really good, everything went according to plan and the results are great!I am VERY happy with the outcome and would recommend them anytime!

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