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Gingivitis

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Aug 2021| Content last modified Aug 2021
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What is gingivitis?

The gingiva is your gums. Having "-itis" at the end of a word means inflammation. Gingivitis is when your gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Gingivitis that isn't treated can cause serious tooth and gum problems such as periodontitis Periodontitis Periodontitis is severe gum disease that can make your teeth loose or fall out. Infection weakens the tissue that holds your teeth in place Symptoms include sore, swollen or bleeding gums, bad... read more .

  • Gingivitis is usually caused by not taking good care of your teeth

  • Taking certain medicines or having certain diseases also can cause gingivitis

  • Gingivitis is usually easily cured with good dental care

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth well can help prevent gingivitis

What causes gingivitis?

Almost all gingivitis is caused by plaque. Plaque is a sticky film full of germs that builds up on your teeth. The most common cause of too much plaque is:

  • Not brushing or flossing your teeth well

Plaque that stays on your teeth for more than a few days becomes hard. Hard plaque is called tartar. You can't remove tartar completely by brushing and flossing.

You can also get gingivitis from:

What are the symptoms of gingivitis?

Symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Red gums (rather than pink)

  • Swollen gums

  • Gums that bleed easily

How do dentists treat gingivitis?

Dentists will:

  • Clean your teeth by scraping off the tartar and plaque

  • Treat the cause of your gingivitis

How can I prevent gingivitis?

You can help prevent gingivitis by:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth each day

  • Using a mouthwash that helps lower plaque

  • Getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist every 6 to 12 months, or more often if needed

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OTHER TOPICS IN THIS CHAPTER

Periodontal Diseases
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