What is gingivitis?

When you have swelling in the gingival margin, a part of the gum around the bottom of your tooth, you may have gingivitis. As a form of mild gum disease, gingivitis can be quite uncomfortable and lead to complications if it's not treated quickly and correctly.1 If you have any of the symptoms listed below, make sure to book and appointment with your dentist.

What are the symptoms of gingivitis?

There are a number of symptoms of gingivitis for you to look out for, which include:

  • Tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen gums
  • Dark red gums
  • Receding gums2

If you have any of these symptoms, make sure to book an appointment with a dental professional as soon as possible.

What treatment for gingivitis is available at home?

Thankfully, there are a number of things that you can do at home to treat gingivitis or from preventing it from happening at all. How can you treat gingivitis at home? The following can be applied 3:

If you notice your symptoms are getting worse or you are feeling more discomfort, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible as treatment for gingivitis is available.

Are there particular foods that may be beneficial for people with gum problems ?

There are certain foods that that some people believe can benefit you when you have gum problems. Whether it's because of their potential cleaning properties or their nutrients including vitamins, you may want to consider adding these to your diet.


Filled with Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, as well as a number of other nutrients such as Vitamin B1, magnesium, iron, calcium and many more.4

Green Tea

Green tea has a high concentration of, which may be helpful for people with gum problems. In addition, studies have shown that those who drink more green tea may have a lower chance of experiencing gum problems.4


Foods containing probiotics are a good way to help support the good bacteria in your mouth, which, in turn, may reduce the chance of gum problems and plaque buildup.4


Eating grass-fed beef may be helpful for people with gum problems due to how we have to chew it.4

Nuts and seeds high in omega 3

Nuts and seeds that are high in omega-3 are a great addition to your diet. Some examples include macadamia nuts, pistachios and sesame seeds.4

What food and drinks should you avoid when you have gingivitis?

There are, of course, food that you should avoid to maintain healthy teeth and gums as well as to help prevent gum problems.


This is a common one that most people have heard of. Eating a lot of sweets and increased sugar can be detrimental to your teeth; in particular sticky sweets can be troublesome. That said, it's best to wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating this kind of treat.5

Dried Fruits

You may reach for dried fruits to substitute the craving for something sweet; however, these are also quite sticky, which means they aren't the easiest to clean from your teeth. As with sweets, however, wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth.5

Coffee and Tea

Drinks with high caffeine and acidity, such as coffee and tea, reduce saliva flow, which could contribute to gum problems in some people.5


It's a must-have for a trip to the cinema but not so much for someone who has gum disease or is trying to prevent it. Unfortunately, when you eat popcorn, you can get the husks stuck between your teeth and the gum, which, if they aren’t removed, can create an abscess and that can lead to gum disease.5

Starchy food

Foods such as white bread and pasta whichcontain carbs that can be quickly converted into sugar and can also become sticky when they are chewed, leaving a coating on your teeth which can allow bacteria to thrive.5

Sports and fizzy drinks

Both these types of drinks have a lot of sugar in them as well as being quite acid which can be detrimental to your teeth and gums. In addition, the bacteria in plaque thrive on sugar, which then can be quite acidic and can lead to enamel erosion and gum disease.5

Frequently Asked Questions

Can gingivitis be cured

Thankfully gingivitis is reversible if the right actions are taken at the first signs of gum disease, as mentioned above. When you notice any of the symptoms listed above, make sure to book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible; if left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.

How do you treat gingivitis, and how long will it take?

This very much depends on the severity of the gingivitis, its cause and when treatment for gingivitis started.


  1. Gov UK. Chapter 5: Periodontal diseases. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delivering-better-oral-health-an-evidence-based-toolkit-for-prevention/chapter-5-periodontal-diseases. Accessed 10th November 2022.
  2. HSE. Symptoms Gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis). https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/gum-disease/symptoms/. Accessed 10th November 2022.
  3. NHS. Gum Disease. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gum-disease/. Accessed 10th November 2022.
  4. Ask The Dentist. The 12 best foods to eat if you have gum disease. https://askthedentist.com/gum-disease-diet/. Accessed 23rd September 2022.
  5. Harborview Dental Health. Foods that Cause Gum Disease. https://www.harborviewdentalhealth.com/2019/08/15/foods-that-cause-gum-disease/. 23rd September 2022.


Find out how to help protect your gums from gum disease and the importance of regular dental checkups.