​What is a gum infection/gingivitis and how does it develop?

A gum infection/gingivitis is an inflammation of the tissue surrounding the tooth.  This inflammation is caused by bacteria. There are several million bacteria in our mouths, most of them are healthy, but a few will be harmful.  Bacteria are the smallest living things. They have, just like humans a metabolism. The breeding ground for this bacteria is plaque or biofilm. Where there is a great deal of plaque or biofilm, there are many nutrients for the bacteria.  The bacteria process the nutrients and excrete metabolic products which are toxins. These toxins then cause gum inflammation.

The main cause of a gum inflammation is therefore bacterial. The immune system is fighting with antibodies to the area of inflammation. In response to the inflammation, the body ensures that the gums are supplied with more blood. As a result, the gums are swollen and bloody. This, in turn, is why the gums bleed upon brushing.

What are the signs of a gum infection/gingivitis and how do I recognize it?

There are 3 clear signs of gum inflammation/gingivitis: bleeding, swelling and color.

First:  Bleeding - Inflamed gums have more blood circulation and thus are more sensitive.  If the gums begin to bleed on contact with a toothbrush, dental floss or an interdental brush, this is a clear indication of inflamed tissue/gingivitis.  

Second:  Swelling - The inflammation cause fluids to escape from the vessels into the tissue. Due to this the gums will be puffy and swollen.

Third: the color of the gums - Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. Inflamed tissue, however is red to dark red or even bluish.  The following picture show inflamed gums(left) and healthy gums (right).

gum infection

How do I treat or prevent gum inflammation/gingivitis?

When removing the plaque, you must first know that the tooth has five surfaces.
These five surfaces all need to be cleaned:

  • The outer tooth surface, which shows the cheeks and lips
  • the inner tooth surface, which shows the tongue
  • the chewing surface
  • the two surfaces between the teeth

The first 3 surfaces are cleaned by almost all patients with the toothbrush. The interdental spaces (between the teeth) are usually neglected.
The surfaces between the teeth take up 30% of the entire tooth surface. If you do not clean these interdental spaces, it means that actually you are not cleaning one third of the tooth surface. This is exactly where the majority of all gum infections occur, which, if left untreated, may degenerate into periodontal disease. Also cavities often appear in the interdental space. Therefore, cleaning the interdental spaces with interdental brushes is very important for healthy gums.

How do I treat or prevent gum inflammation?

The removal of plaque is time consuming and a daily necessity. Even an excellent brusher needs 4-5 minutes for thorough plaque removal from the teeth and the interdental spaces. Within 24-48 hours without a thorough cleaning of all five tooth surfaces, a sufficient nutrient base for the bacterial growth has formed.

From childhood it has always been said that brushing should occur two times every day. Brushing alone will only take care of 3 of the 5 tooth surfaces.The essential partner to brushing is the use of an interdental brush and dental floss to complete the thorough process of cleaning all 5 tooth surfaces.

Here is the complete formula to break the bacterial cycle:

Brush two times for 2-3 minutes and use an interdental brush at least once which may take an additional 2-3 minutes. This routine is imperative on a daily basis. If there is a day when only once is possible, make sure that adequate time is given to all 5 surfaces with the use of the toothbrush, interdental brush and floss.

Just as in daily life (e.g. education, sport), professional support and assistance is key to improving ourselves and reaching goals. No one is perfect - only the combination of home care and professional care will lead to excellent oral health.

It is essential to visit a dentist regularly and see a dental hygienist at least two times yearly for a professional cleaning. The hygienist will first establish the condition of the gum tissue and which areas need more attention through home care. Disclosing solution may be used to demonstrate areas of existing plaque. During a thorough assessment measurements will be taken to determine the amount of space between the gum tissue and the tooth. As these measurements are recorded, additional notes will reflect areas of bleeding upon probing. This charting will aid the dentist and hygienist in determining which type of professional cleaning is needed. Throughout the entire appointment the hygienistis a great resource to offer suggestions for better home care and demonstrate how the cleaning of missed areas can be optimized. Practicing a new technique in the office is encouraged. Use the time to ask questions about home care. The hygienist will emphasize the need for frequent recare appointments as prevention is the best way to avoid a gum infection/gingivitis.

How can I treat or prevent gum inflammation?

Your formula to excellent oral health:

2-4 times a year visit your dental office
+ 363 days perform essential home care habits
= a life-time of healthy smiles!

Which products are needed to treat or avoid a gum infection? Why? How are they used?

For complete cleaning of all five tooth surfaces you need two tools.
First - a toothbrush: The toothbrush will clean the chewing surface, as well as the cheek and tongue surfaces.
Second - an interdental brush: This is used to clean the interdental spaces.

It is interesting that the tooth is the only vital organ where part of it (the root) is inside the body.  The other part, the crown of the tooth is on the outside. The weak point is where the two meet. Visually this is where the tooth meets the gum tissue, known as the sulcus.

In the sulcus, the tooth is particularly vulnerable because this is where the bacteria, plaque and biofilm like to gather encouraging gum infection/gingivitis and periodontitis.

The sulcus needs to be cleaned with gumline brushing and the use of the interdental brush.

What should be considered when using a toothbrush?

  1. The head of the toothbrush should allow for brushing all the back teeth with soft bristles. The best design is the one that reaches the very last tooth.
  2. Brushing pressure should be light, because too much pressure leads to gum recession.. A great experiment is to try pressing a toothbrush on a kitchen scale to see that the proper technique would be to only press down up to 5.3 ounces (children 3.5 ounces).
  3. The toothbrush should be placed half on the gum tissue and half on the tooth in order to clean the sulcus properly. When the toothbrush is held at a 45 degree angle, the bristles will reach slightly under the gumline.

What should be considered when using interdental brushes?

  1. The interdental brush should fill the interdental space.
    To be effective it should touch both sides of the tooth removing the greatest amount of bacteria and plaque.
    If it is too small, it is ineffective. If it is too large, it may injure the gum tissue. Trying different sizes will help determine the correct one. Your dentist or hygienist will also be helpful.
  2. The wire should be plastic coated so that neither the gum or tooth are injured.
  3. The shape of the handle should make it possible to use the interdental brush in a straight path without bending the brush.Start by placing the brush gently into the interproximal space. Then use a back and forth movement 6-8 times without taking the brush out of the space. The interdental brush does not bend when the lifting movement takes place only in the interdental space.

What should be considered when using interdental brushes?

  1. The interdental brush should fill the interdental space.
    To be effective it should touch both sides of the tooth removing the greatest amount of bacteria and plaque.
    If it is too small, it is ineffective. If it is too large, it may injure the gum tissue. Trying different sizes will help determine the correct one. Your dentist or hygienist will also be helpful.
  2. The wire should be plastic coated so that neither the gum or tooth are injured.
  3. The shape of the handle should make it possible to use the interdental brush in a straight path without bending the brush.Start by placing the brush gently into the interproximal space. Then use a back and forth movement 6-8 times without taking the brush out of the space. The interdental brush does not bend when the lifting movement takes place only in the interdental space.

What is the difference between dental floss and interdental brushes?

Dental floss can be used effectively in the front teeth. The reason: Front teeth are round to oval in cross-section. If you floss a round to oval surface, it will be clean.
In the back teeth, the center of the interdental space is concave. When floss is used this area will not be cleaned.

interdental brush and dental floss

Due to the remaining plaque, gum inflammation/gingivitis, Periodontitis or tooth decay may occur.Therefore, an interdental brush will clean the best in the back teeth. It is important that children and teenagers do not try interdental brushes because the space between the teeth is too small. This can quickly lead to gum injuries and the loss of gum tissue between the teeth.

What are the reasons for Oral Prevent Interdental Brushes?

A gum inflammation arises predominantly in the interdental spaces, since they are not adequately cleaned. In order to keep them clean and thus to prevent gingivitis/gum inflammation, high quality interdental brushes are clearly beneficial.
Here is why the Smart Grip interdental brushes from Oral Prevent are special: 

  1. The company Oral Prevent has developed the shape and size of the interdental brushes so that there is a suitable brush for every common interdental space. (8 different sizes)
  2. The ergonomically designed handle allows for cheek retraction so that the back teeth will be reached without bending the brush.
  3. The cleaning performance of the interdental brushes from Oral Prevent is excellent because there are double layered bristles compared to comparable products. This ensures a better cleaning effect.
  4. The wire is plastic coated. As a result, injuries to the tooth and the gums are avoided as well as possible damage to implant surfaces.

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