3: Chronic Gingivitis

Chapter 3

Chronic gingivitis

By the end of this chapter you should be able to:
1. Define inflammation and chronic gingivitis, and describe the primary and secondary causes of chronic gingivitis.
2. Explain the difference between signs and symptoms, and list the signs and symptoms of chronic gingivitis.
3. Explain how to treat chronic gingivitis.


Chronic gingivitis is the persistent inflammation of the gums (Figures 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3). When a word ends in ‘itis‘, it usually describes an inflammatory condition of a body tissue. For example, tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils.

Figure 3.1 Localised chronic marginal gingivitis (© Professor Nicola West, Bristol University. Reproduced with permission)

Figure 3.2 Generalised chronic marginal gingivitis (© Alison Chapman. Reproduced with permission)

Figure 3.3 Chronic gingivitis in a neglected mouth (source: Alison Chapman)

Who does it affect?

Chronic gingivitis is the condition that the oral health educator (OHE) will probably encounter most frequently. It is thought to affect 50–90% of the adult population, and can be present in children [1]. In the UK Adult Dental Health Survey (2009), gingival bleeding on probing (a sign of active gingival disease) was found in 54% of dentate adults [2]. In the same survey, 59% of dentate adults aged between 45 and 54 years and 49% of dentate adults aged between 65 and 74 years showed gingival bleeding [2].

Since initially it rarely causes pain and affected gums can appear relatively normal, many sufferers are unaware that anything is wrong and will tell the educator that their gums have bled when brushing for years. OHEs will often hear comments, such as ‘I thought it was normal for my gums to bleed‘ or ‘My gums always bleed when I have a new toothbrush‘.

The OHE should promote the message that ‘hea/>

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Jan 4, 2015 | Posted by in General Dentistry | Comments Off on 3: Chronic Gingivitis
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