Gingivitis can start out as an unnoticeable disorder. This inflammation of the gums comes from plaque buildup along the gum line. It is the first stage of gum disease and can be treated easily. If left untreated, it can cause periodontitis, which will cause more damage to your teeth and gums, and can even result in the loss of teeth.

Signs of Gingivitis

The first signs of gingivitis are easily overlooked. As the disease progresses, however, you will notice:

  • Red, swollen, and painful gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums that give the teeth an elongated appearance
  • Mouth sores
  • Yellow plaque visible along gum line
  • Bad breath
  • Pockets between the teeth and gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Loss of teeth

Causes of Gingivitis

Poor oral hygiene causes gingivitis. The main cause of gingivitis is improper brushing and flossing, which allows plaque to build up on your teeth and gums and cause bacteria to be present constantly. The plaque eventually hardens into what is called tartar. This is nearly impossible to remove without a dentist’s intervention. The longer the tartar is present, the more damage it causes to your gums.


Risk Factors

While plaque is the main cause of gingivitis, there are many other factors that increase the risk as well.

  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Diseases like cancer, HIV, and diabetes
  • Crooked or crowded teeth
  • Ill-fitting dental appliances, broken fillings

Diagnosis of Gingivitis

During the dental exam, your dentist will look for the symptoms and signs of gingivitis – bleeding gums, swelling and firmness of gums, pocket depth. If the pocket is deep and large, the disease is more severe.

He may ask for your medical or dental history. He may also use X-rays to check for bone loss. Tell your dentist about any symptoms that you may be experiencing.

Prevention of Gingivitis

Prevention of gingivitis takes only a few minutes each day. Follow these steps for good oral hygiene and your chances of suffering from this disease will be greatly reduced.

  • Brush and Floss Regularly
  • Brushing and flossing regularly, morning and night, is your best defense against buildup plaque.

  • Use a Mouthwash
  • Most mouthwash is created to help eliminate bacteria in the mouth. Choose one that says it’s antibacterial.

  • Massage Your Gums
  • A gentle massage with your fingertips will help blood flow to this area. This blood flow will give your gums the needed energy to repair themselves and become healthier.

  • Take a Well-Balanced Diet
  • Avoid sugary and starchy foods, as bacteria feed on them and help them to release the acids that affect your tooth enamel. Eat a balanced diet to get proper nutrition for your teeth.

  • Avoid Smoking
  • Smoking not only affects your heart and lungs, it also causes harm to your dental health. Quit smoking and avoid tobacco to protect your teeth and gums from gingivitis.

  • Professional Cleaning
  • Optimally, getting your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year helps remove any stubborn plaque.


Treatment for gingivitis begins with the removal of plaque between the gums and teeth. In most cases, the dentist will use a tool to scrape away the tartar a little at a time. Once this is done, practicing prevention methods will help return your gums to their healthy state. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if the case is extremely bad.

Deep teeth cleaning and surgery can also be used for the treatment of gingivitis. Scaling, root planing and lasers help in removing plaque and tartar. Flap surgery, bone and tissue grafts are also used to treat gingivitis.


Untreated gingivitis increases the risk of other health problems like heart attack, diabetes, lung disease and premature birth or low birth weights. There has been a connection between gingivitis and heart disease, as the same infection that causes the plaque on teeth creates the plaque that lines arteries going into the heart, causing them to become blocked.

Following good oral hygiene habits and visiting the dentist for regular checkups can keep you protected from gingivitis.

See Also: 10 Mistakes That Can Lead to Dental Emergencies

Fabey Dental Studios is a leading dental care service provider in Easton. We value our patients and are committed to provide comprehensive dental services like, bonding and white filling, bridges, crowns, dentures and periodontal health services. Our staff stays current with the latest technology and advances in dentistry and has gained a reputation of excellence in rendering optimal oral health and esthetic dentistry.

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Mark J. Fabey D.M.D.
2690 Kingston Rd.
Easton, PA 18045
Phone : 610-810-2704


Monday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Thursday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Friday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
(1st and 3rd Saturday of the month)