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Author: Ajaideep (AJ) Bassi

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease which can cause irritation, swelling and redness of your gums. Often caused by bacteria that collects on your teeth known as plaque, inflammation is especially caused by crevices and spaces around rough or broken fillings. The acidic substances the bacteria produce can cause harm to the gums and if they are not removed regularly, they can harden and become tartar deposits. This accumulation of bacteria irritates the gums even more and provides a larger surface for bacterial growth.3,4. Normally, healthy gums will be firmly attached to the teeth and underlying bone. The gums will be a pale pink shade in light-skinned people and brown, gray or mottled in people with darker complexions, both of which are normal clinical presentations.4

Mild cases of gingivitis are known to cause little pain and may be overlooked, but if they it is neglected for too long, it can become more severe and lead to periodontal disease which can cause tooth loss.3

Three in four adults over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease. People with poorly controlled diabetes and pregnant women are more susceptible and especially at risk. Certain pharmaceuticals, and systemic steroids can cause an increased risk of gingivitis as well.3

Symptoms and Duration

Keep an eye out for red, swollen, and tender gums that can bleed easily. Consult a dental professional who will examine the affected areas and provide treatment accordingly. They will look for calculus deposits on your teeth and under the gum line as well as ask a series of questions about what medication you may be taking and if your gums bleed when brushing and flossing.2,3

If you work on a good oral hygiene regimen, gingivitis can heal within several days, but if oral hygiene remains poor, gingivitis likely will remain and could worsen over time and progress to periodontitis, which can lead to significant loss of bone and tissue surrounding your teeth.1,2,3

Prevention and Treatment

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing between your teeth at least once a day can help reduce the chances of plaque build up and gingivitis. When brushing your teeth, make sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush that can reach the gum line.

Once you have scheduled and arrived at your dental check up, you will receive a thorough examination and cleaning.. They may also instruct you on how to brush areas you may seem to miss, as well as flossing methods.3,4


[1] Coast Dental Blog What?! I Have Gum Disease? (n.d.). Retrieved from

[2] Crest. (2019, November 15). What is Gingivitis? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments. Retrieved from

[3] Gingivitis. (2017, August 04). Retrieved from

[4] Gingivitis: What It Is, Causes, Diagnosis. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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