What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease, starts when the bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gums and cause infection. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious conditions.

Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal (gum) disease. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene, which leads to plaque buildup.

Other factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.

The bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gums and cause infection. When your body launches an immune response against these invaders, the gums become inflamed. People with gingivitis usually experience little or no discomfort. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms, such as gums that are red, swollen or bleed easily.

Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good home oral care. However, if gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis.

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