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What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes inflammation of the gums. It can cause the gums to become red, swollen, or irritated. It is very common, with an estimated 70% of adults having some form of gingivitis. While its symptoms are usually quite mild, untreated gingivitis can progress to cause potentially serious dental and overall health problems.

What Are The Causes of Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a result of bacterial buildup between and around the teeth. There are several lifestyle factors that can contribute to the progression of gum disease. These include smoking tobacco, unhealthy nutrition, and lax oral hygiene (not brushing/flossing frequently enough).

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Gingivitis?

Inflamed gums, redness, and swelling are all common signs and symptoms of gingivitis. You may find that your gums bleed easily while brushing or flossing, and bad breath may result from the buildup of bacteria. Untreated gingivitis can also lead to gum recession over time.

How is Gingivitis Diagnosed?

Gingivitis can be diagnosed during a simple oral examination from a dentist. X-rays may be necessary to evaluate the extent and progression of the gum infection.

What Are Possible Treatments For Gingivitis?

Going in for regular cleanings is essential to your oral health, particularly if you have been diagnosed with gingivitis. Sometimes your dentist may recommend an oral rinse to fight bacteria and improve gum health.

Are There Preventative Steps or Measures To Avoid Gingivitis?

Good oral hygiene (flossing daily and brushing twice a day), along with regularly visiting your dentist for twice-annual cleanings can help prevent gingivitis. It is also important to avoid smoking, vaping, or using tobacco products, and stick to a healthy diet to keep your gums feeling healthy and clean.

What Are The Risks If Gingivitis Is Left Untreated?

If untreated, gingivitis may develop to a more serious gum disease called periodontitis which will infect the bone support around your teeth. Periodontitis can create deeper pockets near the teeth and may even lead to tooth loss in severe cases. Gingivitis/periodontitis has also been linked to heart disease and stroke, since plaque and inflammation from your gums can become systemic and affect the cardiovascular system as well.

Are There Other Related Conditions To Gingivitis?

Untreated gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, which is a more severe type of gum disease that can cause bone loss.

Key Takeaways About Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a very common form of gum disease which results from the buildup of bacteria between and around the teeth. It causes the gums to become red and inflamed, and may also result in the gums bleeding while brushing and flossing. If not treated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which infects the bones supporting your teeth and can lead to tooth loss. The keys to prevention include avoiding tobacco products, brushing and flossing every day, and making sure to visit your dentist for regular cleanings twice a year.

Recommended Next Steps For Gingivitis

The most important things to remember are: floss daily, brush twice a day, and make sure not to miss any of your routine cleanings at the dentist.

Meet Dr. Christian Chung, D.D.S

Dr. Christian Chung grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He moved to New York City and attended New York University where he received both his undergraduate degree and his degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. Upon graduation, he completed his residency at St. Lukes Roosevelt... Learn More »