Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness, and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, which is the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. Gingivitis can lead to more serious gum disease if left untreated.
The primary cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. When plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, builds up on your teeth due to inadequate brushing and flossing, it can irritate and inflame your gums, leading to gingivitis. Other factors, such as smoking, certain medications, and certain medical conditions, can also contribute to gingivitis.
Symptoms of gingivitis may include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Tender or painful gums
- Receding gums
The good news is that gingivitis is usually reversible with proper oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help prevent and treat gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss. So, it's essential to address gingivitis promptly to maintain good oral health.