Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that is characterized by a gingival inflammation caused by harmful bacteria in dental plaque, which accumulates at and below the gumline where your teeth and gums meet. When you don’t brush and don’t floss your teeth regularly, these bacteria grow and your gums, or gingiva, become inflamed. Your teeth may even feel a bit “furry” when you run your tongue over them. Because gingivitis is often not painful, it can remain undetected until you see your dental hygienist or your dentist. Your dental team is there to help you take care of your gums so that they remain firm and pink and form a tight collar around each tooth.

What are the signs of gingivitis?

  1. Red and puffy or swollen gums
  2. Tender gums when chewing
  3. Bleeding gums when brushing or cleaning between the teeth
  4. Bad breath

Gingivitis is not destructive but, if left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious form of gum disease. Periodontitis destroys bone and gums, resulting in the eventual loss of teeth. Periodontitis also causes blood sugar to rise, making it harder to control diabetes.

At your next appointment, ask your dental provider if you have gingivitis. Working together, you can protect your gums and keep them healthy for a lifetime.