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What Causes Gingivitis?

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Gingivitis, or the inflammation of the gums, is a relatively common dental problem for our patients. If treated, gingivitis is easily cured – but if left untreated, can progress to become periodontitis, which can lead to the loss of teeth. Along with regular exams, good oral hygiene habits can limit your risk for gingivitis. We’ve put together this list of both causes and symptoms of gingivitis to give our patients a guide on what to look for. Dr. Bellingham checks for signs of gingivitis during every exam, but if you experience any of the following symptoms, give our office a call.

What to Look For

Luckily, gingivitis can be treated and successfully reversed if it is diagnosed early – but if you don’t know what to look for, it can be difficult to detect. Mild cases of gingivitis might not cause any discomfort or noticeable symptoms. However, common signs include bright red or purple gums, tenderness, bleeding, bad breath, swelling, and receding gums.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis generally results from a buildup of plaque. The most common type of gingivitis results from bacterial plaque accumulating between and around your teeth. This accumulation harms your gum tissue, causing it to swell, become tender, and bleed, along with other painful side effects.

Dental plaque, which occurs naturally on your teeth, can also cause gingivitis and other dental problems. When dental plaque builds up, the result is tartar (a yellow-ish substance) that can only be removed with the help of your dentist.

Other factors can also put you at risk for developing gingivitis. Changes in hormones can make your gums more sensitive, which raises your risk for inflammation. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and HIV are linked to a higher risk of gingivitis. Medications that reduce your saliva flow can also affect your gum health. Lastly, smoking and family history also contribute to your risk of developing gingivitis.


Depending on the severity of your gingivitis, there are several ways Dr. Bellingham might treat it. But, there are some things you can do on your own to prevent gingivitis. For example, regularly brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can all limit your risk for developing gingivitis.

During your next appointment at Savannah Dental Care, make sure to mention any discomfort you’re experiencing. Early detection and preventive care will ensure that you limit your likelihood of ginigivitis.

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