What Causes Gingivitis?

Graphic showing the stages of periodontal or gum disease.

Your gum health is just as important as your teeth health. If your gums aren’t healthy, you might experience swelling, bleeding, loose teeth, and even tooth loss! Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and something many people experience at some point. What causes it?

What Is Gingivitis?

Your mouth is home to lots of bacteria. Some are good, but some create plaque, which is a sticky film that coats your teeth. If this film isn’t brushed and flossed away, it damages your teeth and gums. Plaque also hardens into tartar, which further irritates your gums and can’t be removed at home. This gum irritation is called gingivitis. Symptoms include swollen, tender gums, bleeding gums, and itchiness. If it’s untreated, gum disease progresses to periodontitis. That’s why it’s very important to treat gingivitis early on.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gingivitis. If you neglect good brushing and flossing habits, you’ll have more plaque and more gum inflammation. Other risk factors include tobacco use, diabetes, pregnancy, and certain medications. Some people simply have a genetic disposition to gum disease. Whatever the cause, gingivitis is usually easy to treat. Improving your oral hygiene habits is the best thing you can do. We also recommend getting a professional cleaning at least twice a year. If tobacco or medication is the cause, talk to your doctor about quitting tobacco or switching your meds.

Treating Gingivitis at Northside Dental

Dr. Metwally and the team at our Raleigh office see gingivitis all the time. It often doesn’t have symptoms, which is why it’s so important to visit us for preventive services at least twice a year. We can catch gum disease in its earliest stages and reverse it quickly. If you have any questions about gingivitis or how to treat it, please contact us today!