What is Chronic Gingivitis?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2018
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Chronic gingivitis is a persistent inflammation of the gingiva, the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. This condition can progress to tooth loss and can expose the patient to the risk of developing serious infections. Treatment is available for chronic gingivitis and is usually provided by a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease.

Gingivitis in general is caused by the accumulation of plaque on the teeth. Plaque builds up when people do not adequately care for their mouths, and inflammation can start within days of the deposition of plaque. In acute and subacute gingivitis, the inflammation onsets rapidly and some dental care can resolve the problem, restoring oral health. Chronic gingivitis is an ongoing medical problem either because the patient does not seek treatment, or because the condition resists treatment. Patients can also develop recurrent gingivitis, an inflammation that returns repeatedly despite treatment.

People with chronic gingivitis commonly have discolored teeth as a result of poor oral hygiene, but not always. The gums are tender and may have blotches of red in areas of inflammation. They can also be swollen. This condition also causes gum loss. As the gums shrink from the teeth, the teeth appear longer and larger. Patients may notice bleeding during brushing or flossing and can experience oral pain.


Treatment for chronic gingivitis involves removing the plaque and cleaning out the pockets formed as the gums start to pull away from the teeth. After this procedure, the patient will have to follow a meticulous oral care regimen to prevent plaque from returning. This will include regular cleanings by a dental hygienist. Once the patient's mouth is stabilized, the possibility of gum grafts can be discussed if the gums have receded far enough to arouse concerns about the health of the roots of the teeth. Recurrent gingivitis can be a risk for patients with a history of chronic gingivitis.

People can prevent the development of gingivitis by caring for their teeth regularly and being alert to the signs of plaque and tartar. An oral hygienist can use specialized tools to thoroughly clean the teeth, removing materials known to cause gingivitis and examining the patient's mouth for any signs of oral health problems at the same time. Dental care should include regular flossing and brushing to clean the teeth, and mouthwash can be used as well to limit bacterial growth in the mouth.


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Post 4

I challenge all the above and all standard wisdom and geekhood on this subject.

A single, simple solution: Brush daily with pure glycerin. A year's supply of food grade should cost all of about $5.

It penetrates and removes biofilm and plaque, and dehydrates bacteria on contact. You see results in days, improving steadily and rapidly thereafter. Repeat occasionally for permanent firm gums and teeth. The end of a profession! So tragic.

Post 3

I read that there are anti-plaque creams that can be applied on teeth and gums to help fight gingivitis. They are said to be antibacterial and so prevent plaque buildup. Do you know anything about them? Are they given by dentists or are they available over the counter?

Post 2

My roommate thinks that gingivitis treatment is something that everyone can do by themselves at home. I think toothpastes actually promote this belief because they always write on the tube that toothpaste prevent gingivitis. That is true, you can prevent gingivitis by brushing your teeth, but from what I understand, if you already developed chronic gingivitis, brushing is not going to do too much for you.

I'm not sure what plaque builds up look like, but I'm pretty sure that it can't be removed at home. And the consequences of not removing the plaque is so serious, I honestly don't think that anyone should try to treat their gingivitis on their own. Plus, if you've had work done on your teeth, the plaque might be somewhere that you absolutely cannot get to. The best thing to do is to go to the dentist and let them take care of it for you.

Post 1

Chronic gingivitis is a very uncomfortable condition. I have had it before and my gums had become so sensitive that even brushing was a painful ordeal. I had to buy an extremely soft brush and use very little pressure.

It didn't seem to affect all of my gums either, it was mainly on the right side and I used to wake up in the morning and stare at the mirror to see if the swelling had gone down a little bit. But even though it felt better after the night, the brushing in the morning brought the irritation and sensitivity back.

Chronic gingivitis makes eating difficult too. I couldn't have very hard or crunch foods because it caused

my gums to hurt too much.

Despite all this, I was relieved to find out that this was a reversible situation, unlike some other gum diseases. Like the article said, if you maintain oral hygiene, brush and floss regularly, it does go away.

I brush my teeth 2-3 times a day now, always floss at night and I try to brush or gargle if I happen to have sweets because I think that makes it worse. Thankfully my gingivitis has not repeated, but I did suffer from it for more than a year until it was completely treated.

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