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What are the treatment options for gingivitis?

Carol Jahn
Dentist
The treatment options for gingivitis are two-fold. First, if you have the signs of gingivitis (red, swollen, or bleeding gums) make an appointment with your dental office for an exam. In many cases, a general cleaning can improve the situation. However, if you have not had dental treatment for a while (one year or more) you may need a deeper cleaning called scaling and root planing. Only your dentist and dental hygienist can determine which treatment is best for you.

Second, after treatment to promote thorough healing and to keep the gingivitis from returning (there is no cure), you will need to brush twice daily and clean between your teeth once a day. If your dental hygienist says you need to improve your brushing habits, a power toothbrush can often help increase plaque removal. For in between teeth cleaning, the ability to do it well is more important than the tool. Flossing is difficult for most people. Other effective options include toothpicks, interdental brushes, floss holders or a Water Flosser.
During the early stage of gum disease known as gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen and may bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort. Gingivitis can be reversed with treatment (cleanings) in the dental office and good oral care at home. Once your dentist has treated you for gingivitis, he or she may recommend more frequent checkups. Good oral hygiene at home is also important to keeping periodontal disease from becoming more serious or from coming back.

Always remember to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth once a day, eating a balanced diet and scheduling regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Gingivitis often improves after a professional dental scaling and cleaning that includes the removal of plaque and tartar. After seeing the dentist, however, it is important to practice good oral hygiene at home to prevent a recurrence of gingivitis. Your dentist or dental hygienist can demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques. They may also suggest that you regularly use an antiseptic mouth rinse.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.