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:
Taking certain medicines
Not getting enough vitamin C or niacin
Hormonal changes (for example, because of pregnancy or menopause Menopause Menopause is when women stop having periods (stop menstruating) and can no longer get pregnant. Menopause usually happens after age 40. In the United States, the average age for menopause is... read more )
Having an infection in your mouth
An impacted tooth (a tooth that hasn’t fully broken through your gum)
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
Red gums (rather than pink)
Gums that bleed easily
How do dentists treat gingivitis?
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