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What is Gingivitis, its Symptoms, Causes and Treatments


Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease that can directly affect your oral health and overall health. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the causes of gingivitis, recognize its symptoms, and learn how to treat and prevent it.


Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease caused by a build-up of plaque, a naturally occurring biofilm containing bacteria, which can settle on the tissue around your teeth. If you experience sore or swollen gums, it is often due to plaque build-up. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more severe form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Gingivitis is often painless, so if you notice any signs or symptoms of inflamed gums be sure to visit your dental professional for a proper assessment and to determine a course of treatment.

To protect your oral health, it is crucial to be aware of what gingivitis is so you can spot the signs before developing more serious dental issues. If your partner has gingivitis, you may also wonder is gingivitis contagious. Dental experts agree that although the condition itself is not, you can spread the bacteria through the exchange of saliva.


As you may not notice the build-up of plaque in your mouth that can lead to gingivitis, you should be aware of the symptoms of gingivitis and the later signs of gum disease and periodontitis which could follow.

1. Bleeding Gums

One of the first signs of gingivitis is noticeably red gum inflammation and bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth.

2. Swollen Gums

If you notice swollen gums around your teeth, the most likely cause is gingivitis. As plaque bacteria builds up in your mouth, it can often become stuck in and around your teeth which causes this uncomfortable and visible issue of swollen gums.

3. Bad Taste in Mouth or Bad Breath

If you experience bad breath which remains after using mouthwash or brushing your teeth, this is likely to be another gingivitis symptom. As plaque bacteria settles and breaks down on your teeth, the process produces unpleasant-smelling effects.

4. Receding gums

As the symptoms of gum disease develop, your gums move further away from your teeth. This may not be painful so it can go unnoticed. You should always visit a dental professional if you see any visible signs of loosening gums to find out about receding gums treatment.

5. Deep Pockets between Teeth and Gums

The most advanced signs of gum disease are deep pockets around your gums becoming filled with bacteria as they pull away from your teeth. If this happens you will likely be dealing with periodontitis which can weaken the bone supporting your teeth. You should be sure never to ignore any gum disease symptoms outlined and if you do notice one, visit your dental professional immediately for a full check-up and ensure you stop gum disease from developing.


1. Poor Dental Hygiene

Brushing your teeth twice a day with an antibacterial toothpaste, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash are all recommended by dental professionals to stop the build-up of plaque. The sticky and yellowish deposit of bacteria referred to as plaque, builds up on your teeth if you don’t brush regularly. As plaque produces acids attacking your teeth’s enamel and damaging your gums, poor dental hygiene is the primary cause of gingivitis.

2. Age

As you age, changes in your body such as producing less saliva are common gingivitis causes and periodontal disease is most prevalent among older people.

3. Genetic

When trying to work out what causes gingivitis, dental professionals may also inquire about your family’s health history. This is because your parents having gingivitis increases your chance of developing gum disease, due to the type of bacteria we acquire at a young age.

4. Crooked Teeth

As your teeth may overlap or move out of perfect alignment, crooked teeth can create a haven for plaque to build up around your gums and teeth - this issue is often part of what causes gum disease. If left untreated, it can also lead to decay. If you have crooked teeth, make sure your toothbrush head is suited for your mouth and pay attention to those hard-to-reach areas when brushing.

5. Medical Conditions

If you experience chronic gingivitis, another cause of swollen and bleeding gums can be secondary medical conditions such as viral or fungal infections. Medication for epilepsy, angina, and high blood pressure can also increase your risk of gingivitis, so inform your dentist if you are prescribed such treatments.


If you’re wondering how to prevent gingivitis, there are several steps you can take for gum disease prevention, and these can reverse some symptoms of gingivitis.

For the best gingivitis prevention, you should follow a simple oral health routine every day.

  1. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with an electric toothbrush and antibacterial toothpaste to remove plaque and lessen tartar build-up—and don’t forget to gently clean and massage the gums. This is the first step to

    preventing gum disease.

  2. Floss at least once per day with the proper technique to get rid of food particles and plaque trapped between teeth.

  3. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to help prevent plaque from coming back and help kill the germs that cause gingivitis.

Gingivitis Treatment The best forms of gingivitis treatment at home are ensuring regular and thorough oral cleaning twice daily with an electric toothbrush and antibacterial toothpaste. In cases of severe gum disease, gingivitis cures recommended by your dentist may include medication and surgery.

Deep Cleaning your Teeth

Alongside ensuring you take the best possible care of your teeth at home; you should also visit a dental professional every six months for a general check-up and thorough deep cleaning. This will reduce your risk of developing gingivitis.

Medication For severe symptoms associated with acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis, antibiotics, painkillers, and other forms of mouthwash may be part of the treatment of your bleeding gums prescribed by your dentist.


For more advanced symptoms of gum disease, your dentist’s recommended treatment may also include gum surgery in combination with root planing or a scale and polish to remove built-up plaque, or tartar from around your teeth and under the gums.

The best way to avoid treating gum disease with surgery or other methods is by maintaining good oral hygiene, keeping your teeth plaque under control, and keeping your mouth healthy.