Gum disease

Gingivitis is a gum disease, a condition where the gums become inflamed, red and swollen. In this condition the gums bleed on brushing the teeth. Plaque which is a sticky substance builds up in the teeth and causes gingivitis. The plaque is generally removed on brushing but if left, the bacteria releases toxins that make your gums painful. If left untreated gingivitis can develop to other kind of gum diseases leading to serious complication.

Periodontitis: Also known as pyorrhoea, it seriously affects the gums and may result in teeth loss. This happens because the inflammation spreads and affects the bones and tissues.

Acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis: It is also a serious form of gum disease and is also known as trench mouth or Vincent’s gingivitis. It is a rare disease and affects people with a weak immune system or malnourished people. In this condition ulcers develop in the mouth leading to intense pain in the gums. The gums also swell up causing difficulty in eating and drinking. The tissue around the gums may fall off.


A healthy gum is pink and firm and keeps the teeth tightly held in place. The gums don’t bleed on touching or brushing. The main symptoms of gingivitis are
– bleeding gums
– redness and swelling in the gums
– soft and painful gums

If a person develops periodontitis, the bleeding, pain and swelling of gums will intensify including the following symptoms
– bad breath and foul taste in the mouth
-difficulty in eating
– loose teeth
– pus coming out from the gums
– abscesses on the gums

Symptoms of Acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis include the following
-severe bad breath
-feeling unwell
-bleeding and painful gums
-excessive amount of saliva in the mouth
-difficulty in swallowing or talking
-ulcer on gums
-metallic taste in the mouth


The most common factor for gingivitis and periodontitis is building up of plaque in the teeth. It can also be caused by poor oral hygiene. Factors that increase the rate of developing gingivitis and periodontitis are
-a week immune system
Risk factors that lead to acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis
– malnutrition
-ineffective oral hygiene
– immunocompromise


Treatment of gingivitis and periodontitis

Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way of treating gingivitis and periodontitis. This can be done by
-brushing your teeth properly atleast twice in a day
-by not smoking
-flossing daily
A short course of antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infected gums.

Treatment of Acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG)

This condition should be treated by a dentist. A GP might prescribe you certain treatments before you visit your dentist which includes

– Antibiotics: The commonly prescribed antibiotics are metronidazole, or amoxicillin.

– Analgesics: These medicines also known as painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen are commonly prescribed. They lessen the pain and uneasiness caused by ulcers.

– Mouthwash: Special types of mouthwash are prescribed that treat the infection.

Care should be taken while brushing your teeth in this condition.

Stopping smoking: Oral hygiene improves significantly on stopping smoking.

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