Gingivitis: The Basics
Gingivitis-300x201.jpg" style="border: 0px;" />Although it sounds serious, gingivitis is very common in adults. It’s a form of gum disease that causes irritation of the gums, swelling, bleeding and sometimes pain.
You might not know you have gingivitis until your dentist tells you. Or you may experience symptoms like tender gums or bad breath. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, so it’s easily treatable if you catch it early.
What causes gingivitis? Usually dentists chalk it up to poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush or floss regularly or see your dentist, you may have gingivitis. Poor dental care leads to plaque, a sticky substance full of bacteria that sticks to your teeth. Brushing and flossing daily will remove the plaque. If not, it can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist.
If you have a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth, you will irritate the gingiva, which is the part of your gum that lines the base of your teeth. Anyone can develop gingivitis, but there are additional risk factors, including:
- Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause, which can put people at risk for gum disease
- Tobacco use and substance abuse
- Certain medications that can lead to dry mouth
- Some viral and fungal infections
- Poorly fitting dentures
Gingivitis isn't inevitable. Good daily dental care and regular visits to the dentist will help prevent it.