What Is The Best Way To Treat Gingivitis?

The Best Way To Treat Gingivitis

If you have gingivitis, you’re not alone. Somewhere between 50 and 90% of adults in the UK and the USA have signs of early gum disease. Failure to treat gingivitis effectively and quickly it can progress to periodontitis., an advanced form of gum disease. For this reason, many people ask – “what is the best way to treat gingivitis?”

This post explains the best way to treat gingivitis.

The Best Way to Treat Gingivitis

The best way to treat any problem is to eliminate the cause, it’s no good just treating the symptoms. 

When you have gingivitis, treating the redness or inflammation will not be effective long term. To cure gum disease you need to remove and control the cause.  Ultimately the cause is harmful strains of bacteria found in the mouth.

The most effective way to treat gingivitis is to remove the bacteria. This is best done manually with good oral hygiene. 

Disrupt Harmful Bacteria with Good Oral Hygiene

Daily self-performed care is the best way to disrupt harmful bacteria in the mouth. This gets rid of the symptoms of gingivitis.

Brush Often

  • Brush the teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day – in the morning, and last thing at night
  • Use a manual or an electric toothbrush with a small head and a soft to medium texture – replace the toothbrush or powered toothbrush head every 3-4 months 
  • Use fluoride-containing toothpaste – to protect your teeth against cavities and help fight bacteria that are harmful to the gums. 
  • Don’t rinse – To ensure the fluoride you spent 2 minutes applying to your teeth is not rinsed away don’t rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash unless advised by a dental professional. 

Improve Your Technique

You may be brushing your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day but are you cleaning them effectively? Are you using the correct technique? 

We’re taught to clean our teeth as a child but we never have a refresher session. If you use a manual brush, take a few minutes to read our tips in our post on cleaning your gums at home or read the manufacturer’s instructions on your electric toothbrush. 

Clean between the Teeth Daily

When you brush your teeth you can’t access every surface of the tooth. If you want to treat gingivitis in the best possible way, you must remove food debris and bacteria from between the teeth and under the gum line. 

The best way to do this is with floss, a gum pocket brush, interdental brushes, water flossers or gum pocket brush. 

Choose one or a combination of methods that work best for you.  

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Whilst clinical studies (1) show that some mouthwashes such as Listerine can be effective in reducing harmful bacteria, several dental professionals and UK NICE (2) recommend that mouthwashes are not routinely used. 

Before using a mouthwash, check with your dentist whether you should use one. 

Make the Environment Less Hospitable for Bacteria

Whilst you try to remove the bacteria responsible for causing gingivitis it’s a good idea to make your mouth less hospitable to microbes. It’s also a good idea to follow these tips after your gums have healed to prevent gingivitis from returning. 

Reduce Sugar Intake

Oral bacteria feed on starches and sugars in our diet. Drinks and sugary snacks help bacteria breed in your mouth, the more sugar we consume and the longer it remains in the mouth, the better the environment for bacteria.  

Try and limit sugary drinks and snacks, including those that we think are healthy like raisins and smoothies to mealtimes. 

Drink Water

Regularly sipping water throughout the day can help wash bacteria from the mouth, and alleviate dry mouth as well as bad breath. 

Rinsing the mouth with water after a meal is a good way to rinse away the sugar and sticky substances that adhered to your teeth. 

Limit Foods and Drinks that Dry Your Mouth

Food and drinks such as coffee, alcoholic beverages, popcorn, energy drinks, dry crackers and salty nuts can dry the mouth, making a nice breeding ground for bacteria to thrive. Limit these foods and drinks, and keep your moist and unhospitable to bacteria. 

Stop Smoking

Nicotine found in cigarettes, cigars, vaping and e-cigarettes is a leading cause of periodontal disease and tooth loss. Smokers are twice at risk of developing gum disease (3) than those who don’t smoke. 

It’s also a good idea to stop or refrain from smoking cannabis.

Stopping or reducing the amount you smoke can have a positive effect on your general health and your oral cavity. 

Control Diabetes

Diabetics are more at risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis (4). There are several reasons for this, including high blood sugars that result in sugary saliva, making a favourable environment for bacteria. The high blood sugars can also cause damage to blood vessels within the gums making them more likely to get infected. 

Regularly checking your blood sugar level and keeping them within your target range can reduce the risk of developing gingivitis.

Preventing gingivitis with good oral hygiene can also have a positive effect on controlling your glycemic index. 

Eat Crunchy Fruit and Veg

Crunchy vegetables can act as a natural toothbrush – they can help you get rid of plaque.

Try eating a carrot or an apple after dinner, they’re full of vitamins that are good for your general as well as your oral health and they help remove sticky foods from your teeth. 

They also stimulate the production of saliva to help wash away bacteria and neutralise the acid produced by bacteria. 

Natural Remedies

Some people suggest using home remedies such as saltwater rinses (5), oil pulling (6), herbs such as cloves (7), and turmeric (8) as well as homoeopathic remedies as a way of treating gingivitis. 

Whilst some of the remedies suggested may be beneficial in creating a less hospitable environment for bacteria they are not routinely recommended by dental professionals. 

The best way to treat gingivitis is by manually removing the plaque with a toothbrush.

Do you Need to Visit a Dentist to Treat Gingivitis?

The general advice that you read online is that you need to see a dentist to treat gingivitis. It’s not essential to visit a dentist unless you have a build-up of tartar or other symptoms. Check-ups are always a good idea.

The best way to treat gingivitis is with daily self-performed care. This includes brushing the teeth twice a day and implementing daily interdental cleaning at home.

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Sources – The Best Way To Treat Gingivitis

  1. A randomized trial of ethyl lauroyl arginate‐containing mouthrinse in the control of gingivitis – PMC
  2. Scenario: Gingivitis and periodontitis | Management
  3. Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss | Overviews of Diseases/Conditions | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC
  4. Diabetes and gum disease
  5. Rinsing with Saline Promotes Human Gingival Fibroblast Wound Healing In Vitro | PLOS ONE
  6. Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review – PMC
  7. Potential of clove of Syzygium aromaticum in development of a therapeutic agent for periodontal disease. A review
  8. Comparative evaluation of topical application of turmeric gel and 0.2% chlorhexidine gluconate gel in prevention of gingivitis – PMC
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Written by Sharon Fyles

Periodontitis Expert & Writer

Sharon Fyles, BSc (Hons, SW), MSc, Dip,  is a Manchester-based expert dental writer specialising in periodontal diseases and their treatment.


Medically Reviewed and Verified by Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons), MFDS (RCPS Glasgow)

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