Gingivitis is a common and mild form of periodontal disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling of the gums. Because gingivitis can be mild, it is often overlooked. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease (periodontitis) and eventual tooth loss.
Gingivitis is due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus, and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth decay. If plaque is not removed, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar (or calculus) that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen, and tender.
The following raise your risk for gingivitis :
- Certain infections and body-wide (systemic) diseases
- Poor dental hygiene
- Pregnancy (hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums)
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Misaligned teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges, and crowns) Use of certain medications, including phenytoin, bismuth, and some birth control pills
- Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)
- Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
- Gums that are tender when touched, but otherwise painless
- Mouth sores
- Swollen gums
- Professional tooth cleaning in addition to brushing and flossing may be recommended twice per year or more frequently for severe cases of gum disease.
- Antibacterial mouth rinses or other aids may be also be recommended.
- Repair of misaligned teeth or replacement of dental and orthodontic appliances may be recommended.
- Any other related illnesses or conditions should be treated.