IMI Clinic

Gingivitis: what is it? How does it manifest? Causes and cures

With the term “gingivitis” we describe the inflammatory process that afflicts the gingival tissues.


The gingiva, along with the alveolar process, the radicular cementum, and the periodontal ligament, make up the periodontium (from the Greek peri-, around, and –odont, tooth), i.e. the totality of the structures and tissues surrounding and sustaining the teeth.

In healthy conditions, the gingiva are pink, with an orange-peel texture. On the contrary, in the presence of gingivitis, they are swollen, red, and tend to bleed.


What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is generally considered to be caused by bacteria. Its main cause lying, in fact, in the inflammation caused by an accumulation of bacterial plaque along the margins of the gingiva surrounding the tooth’s neck. There are some risk factors that can contribute to the onset of gingivitis or worsen it if already present. Among these:

  • Pregnancy and puberty, with their hormonal imbalances that can cause alterations in the gingival tissues
  • Cigarette smoke, because of the toxic substances it releases

Among the illnesses that can favor the onset of gingivitis:

  • Diabetes
  • Leukemia
  • AIDS
  • In general, all those situations in which the immune system is weakened
  • Stress
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Improper diet
  • Poor oral hygiene

Several prescription drugs such as anticonvulsants, immune-suppressors, or antihypertensives can cause gingival modifications, i.e. their thickening, which goes by the name of hyperplasia.


How to prevent gingivitis

Gingivitis is a completely reversible illness if the causes of the bacterial proliferation at the root of the inflammation are removed.

This means adopting a correct oral hygiene at least three times a day, using dental floss for an effective removal of interdental plaque, and regular check-ups at the dentist’s and sessions of professional oral hygiene.

Another important factor in the prevention of gingivitis is the removal of risk factors such as smoking, and a correct diet rich in vitamin C and calcium.


Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis

slide01.jpgThere is a form of gingivitis, called necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, that determines a series of important symptoms that include:

  • Intense pain
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums, even spontaneous

Even when the healing is complete, necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis has permanent effects, such as the decapitation of the interdental papillae. In this case an appropriate therapy should be immediately adopted to limit the damage.

From gingivitis to periodontitis

If neglected, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis: the latter is an inflammation of the deep periodontal tissues – alveolar process, radicular cementum, and periodontal ligament – that leads to their destruction, causing irreparable damage.

Contact the specialists of IMI Clinic immediately for a free consultation on periodontitis and related diseases.

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