What Are the Causes of Gingival Hyperplasia?

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  • Written By: Kate O'Rourke
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
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Gingival hyperplasia, which involves the excessive growth of gum tissue, has several causes, including poor dental hygiene, medications, systemic diseases and hormonal changes. Surgery might be needed to correct this condition, but certain lifestyle changes also can help clear up the symptoms. Also known as gingival enlargement or hypertrophic gingivitis, this condition is marked by firm, benign swelling of the gums. In addition to an unsightly appearance, it can cause discomfort and difficulty when talking or chewing, and it can lead to bad breath.

Poor oral hygiene is a common cause of gingival hyperplasia because of the buildup of plaque, which results in gum inflammation and bleeding. Certain classes of drugs also can cause this condition. Immunosuppressants, anticonvulsants and calcium channel blockers can stimulate the overgrowth of gum tissue, resulting in this disorder. Antidepressants and antibiotics also have been implicated in gum overgrowth, although to a much less frequent degree.

Systemic diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), diabetes and Crohn's disease, as well as blood disorders such as leukemia, can also cause gingival hyperplasia. The hormonal shifts of puberty and pregnancy can stimulate gum overgrowth, as can nutritional deficiencies such as scurvy from a lack of vitamin C. This condition also might be the result of rare genetic conditions, such as hereditary fibromatosis, Pfeiffer's syndrome or infantile systemic hyalinosis. Orthodontic braces can cause this type of hyperplasia because of the buildup of bacteria in areas that can make it difficult to be removed.


The appropriate treatment for gingival hyperplasia depends on the underlying cause. If a certain medication has led to the condition, then stopping the medication — when appropriate — will halt the progression of gum overgrowth. Oral hygiene measures such as plaque removal, the use of antiseptic mouthwashes and proper brushing and flossing can improve the condition; antibiotics might also be necessary to help control bacterial overgrowth. Orthodontists typically recommend a water irrigation device to more thoroughly remove debris from teeth that are covered with braces.

Gingival hyperplasia that is caused by the hormonal shifts of puberty or pregnancy typically rights itself after the body's hormone levels return to normal. Surgery to remove excessive tissue might be warranted in severe cases and might need to be repeated for the best results. The proper treatment is important because this condition can lead to the loss of bone and teeth if it is left unchecked.


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

@Feryll - You are right there are a lot of products for taking care of your teeth and gums in the stores. In my opinion, there are too many of them. Most of them are not needed. People were taking care of their mouths long before they had all of the fancy toothpastes and mouthwashes that we have now.

Baking soda is the perfect thing to use to brush your teeth, and it whitens and cleans as well as those expensive toothpastes. You don't need to look any further than your medicine cabinet to find the perfect mouthwash. Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria and other germs that might damage your gums and also whitens your teeth.

Post 3

I am a firm believer in visiting the dentist every six months, but I know not everyone goes to the dentist regularly. Whether because of the cost or because of fear of the dentist, there are many people who only see a dentist when they have emergencies and are forced to seek medical help.

Fortunately, there are so many products on the market now to help you take care of your teeth and gums that most people can do a decent job with their oral hygiene even when they don't visit the dentist regularly. My dentist tells me that flossing is one of the best things I can do to prevent gum disease and keep my mouth healthy.

Post 2

There are studies out now that say that gingival hyperplasia, periodontitis and other dental diseases can be an indication of other more severe heath issues and in other cases these dental diseases can lead to more severe and sometimes deadly health issues. So there are more reasons to go to the dentist and take car of your teeth than simply wanting to keep your teeth.

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