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by Wood D

(Gum Disease)


Risk Factors

Factors that increase your risk of gingivitis include:


Gingivitis therapy aims to remove the irritating plaque and prevent its return.
Treatment includes:
  • Regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene
  • Careful and frequent brushing and flossing
  • A healthful diet that is low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables


Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a powered toothbrush held at a 45-degree angle to the line where your teeth and gums meet. Replace the brush or powered toothbrush bristles when the bristles become bent, frayed, or every 3-4 months. Move the brush in small circular movements along the gumline and chewing surfaces of your teeth.
Brushing removes bacteria from the teeth, but the brush cannot reach everywhere. Flossing helps get rid of food and bacteria between teeth. Hold the floss tight. Gently bring it down between the teeth. Do not pop the floss against the gum. Curve the floss around the tooth and rub up and down. Adjust the floss, so you use a fresh section for each tooth, including the back side of the last tooth, left and right, upper and lower.
Other Self-care
The dentist may recommend additional self-care treatments, such as massaging the gums with a rubber tip. Rinses to fight bacteria and plaque build-up may help some patients.

Dental Care

Dental health professionals check for gingivitis and remove plaque that has built up on teeth. A visit every six months is usually considered adequate. Patients with gingivitis may need more frequent cleanings. If the disease progresses and plaque builds up below the gum line, the area must be scraped off and smoothed with dental tools. Otherwise, accumulated plaque and tartar buildup make it easier for bacteria to grow.
If an area has progressed to periodontal disease, surgery or medication may be required. Treating an underlying medical problem may improve the health of your gums.
In patients with recurring or persistent gingivitis, the dentist will evaluate whether some other condition may be contributing to the gum disease.


American Academy of Periodontology

American Dental Association



Canadian Dental Association

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association



Academy of General Dentistry website. Available at: Updated February 2007. Accessed July 27, 2011.

American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: Updated June 2010. Accessed July 27, 2011.

American Dental Association website. Available at:

Gingivitis. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: Updated November 2010. Accessed July 27, 2011.

Taking care of your gums. JAMA patient page. JAMA. 2000;284:1472.

4/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Weyant RJ, Tracy SL, et al. Topical fluoride for caries prevention: Executive summary of the updated clinical recommendations and supporting systematic review. J Am Dent Assoc. 2013;144(11):1279-1291.

7/15/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Yaacob M, Worthington HV, et al. Powered versus manual toothbrushing for oral health. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Jun 17;6.


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