Gingivitis: What It Is, What Causes It And What To Do About It


Young dentist with sterile mask, protected surgical gloves and dental instruments held in the hands, examining teeth of an elderly patient

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is medically classified as an inflammation of the gums, but it can lead to more serious gum conditions and should be treated promptly and effectively at the first sign in order to prevent any further complications. That’s because gingivitis is an entry level form of periodontal disease, which attacks the gum tissue and eventually works its way to the jaw bone and causes permanent damage including loss of teeth.

Signs Of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is relatively easy to diagnose on your own, as the warning signs are very visibly evident. If you suffer from gingivitis, some of the warning signs are:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bright red or purple appearance to gums
  • Gums that are tender when touched
  • Mouth sores
  • Swollen gums
  • Shiny appearance to gums

If you suspect that you have gingivitis, the first thing you should do is examine your current oral hygiene regimen, and see if it is up to par for treating gingivitis. Typically, gingivitis is caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth that goes untreated. The good thing about bacteria buildup in the mouth is that it’s easy to treat – if you have the right plan in place.

Dangers Of Gingivitis

If gingivitis goes untreated, it can lead to a number of other oral infections and conditions including:

  • Periodontitis
  • Gum infection
  • Tooth loss
  • Gum abscess
  • Jaw abscess
  • Trench mouth

While all these diseases can be very serious, the good news is that gingivitis is relatively easy to treat. If gingivitis is taken care of in a timely manner, it could mean hundreds of dollars in savings on dental procedures to help correct the more serious diseases that gingivitis can lead to.

What Causes Gingivitis?

As mentioned earlier, gingivitis is caused by a bacterial buildup, but it is not the bacteria directly that cause the problem.

Regardless of what you do, bacteria are constantly forming in your mouth. It is an unavoidable truth – your mouth will ALWAYS have bacteria in it. However, when you do not take the proper measures to take care of your mouth, an excess of bad bacteria accumulate in your mouth.

This leads to plaque buildup. Plaque is the accumulation of tiny food particles, particularly sugars, and the excess bad bacteria in the mouth. The particles act as food for the bacteria, and this is what creates the white, sticky substance you know as plaque.

Plaque is the major cause of tooth decay. If left unattended, the plaque will eventually harden, and transform into what’s known as tartar.

Both plaque and tartar are known to inflame the gums, causing gingivitis.

While it sounds like a long, drawn out, difficult process to manage, the truth is it’s not. Preventing plaque and tartar buildup is very easy to do, and if you can successfully control the goings on in your mouth, you can eliminate the chances of gingivitis and other forms of advanced gum disease from occurring.

How To Prevent Gingivitis

There are two basic ways to help prevent gingivitis from affecting you – controlling what you eat, and taking care of your teeth the right way.

  • Many of the foods commonly consumed are made with artificial ingredients and refined sugar, which is the perfect fuel for the bad bacteria in the mouth. Eating healthy foods is important, but unfortunately, it is more difficult to control than you might think. So many of the foods you can buy in the supermarket are unhealthy, and can really do a number on your teeth.

That said, you should live by the old adage of “control what you can control”. Since you cannot adjust the way companies make the food you eat, then you need to take matters into your own hands.

That means the best way to prevent gingivitis from affecting you is to keep your mouth as clean as possible. The core foundation for properly taking care of your mouth is to have an effective oral hygiene regiment in place. This typically includes:

  • Flossing in the morning and evening before you brush
  • Brushing your teeth properly in the morning and evening with an anti-bacterial toothpaste
  • Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash to reach all the difficult, hidden nooks and crannies in the mouth

Treatment Of Gingivitis

If you think that you have gingivitis, you need to take a look at your oral hygiene regiment.

Make sure it is structured like the outline above – flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash twice a day.

It is also important to find an oral care product that is free from chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate and fluoride, and does not dry out your mouth like alcohol based mouthwashes do.

If following these steps does not lead to relief, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss further treatment options.

Problems With Current Products

This is where it gets interesting. If you are like many people, you may be saying to yourself.

“I follow a similar oral hygiene regiment, but I am still suffering from gingivitis. What am I doing wrong?”

The answer is shocking. What you are doing wrong is using toothpaste and mouthwash. The traditional toothpaste and mouthwashes that we have been told to use for years can actually worsen bacteria problems in the mouth.

Chemical ingredients found in traditional toothpaste and mouthwashes can dehydrate your mouth, and irritate your gums. In some extreme cases, it can even help set the stage for bacteria formation in the mouth. Here’s how they can affect you.


Traditional toothpaste contains a host of chemicals that can cause harm to your body. The two scariest are fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

Fluoride is a chemical that has been linked to numerous health issues including bone cancer, brain abnormalities, premature aging, and more. It can lead to issues with your immune system, and it destroys cells in your ligaments – specifically the ones that attach your gums to your teeth. This means that if you already have a condition where the gums have begun to separate from the teeth (pockets), using a fluoride product can make it worse and prevent it from ever healing. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a chemical foaming agent that is added to toothpaste, but it is also a clinical skin irritant. Studies have shown that it weakens the tissues of the mouth, and it can further irritate your already inflamed gums if you have gingivitis.


The 22 known harmful types of bacteria in the mouth do not need oxygen to survive. Your body’s natural line of defense for this bacteria growth is your saliva, which is rich in oxygen as well as other critical enzymes needed to eliminate excess bacteria in the mouth.

Your mouthwash is known to dry out the mouth, thus cutting back your body’s saliva production, eliminating your built in defense for bad bacteria.

What To Do About It

As we’ve discussed, the most important thing to do to correct gingivitis before it is too far gone is to implement a solid oral hygiene program. If you’re already doing that and still suffering, it may very well be due to the chemical laden products you’re using. Combining good oral hygiene with a natural product that will eliminate the bacteria which cause the problems may be the answer to a number of these problems.

Did it ever occur to you that the least expensive and painful option might be found in nature? Why not try a great product that provides natural relief?