Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease caused by persistent infection of the soft tissues in the mouth, which results in inflammation and can lead to the destruction of the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligament and bone. Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of gum infection where these underlying tissues are seen to be deteriorating.
Gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by the long-term effects of plaque deposits. PLAQUE is sticky and develops on the exposed portions of teeth and consists of bacteria and food. It is a major cause of tooth decay. When plaque becomes hard it is called calculus and can become trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and calculus irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins bacteria produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen and tender.
If you have gingivitis you are more likely to get uncontrolled diabetes, increased sensitivity of the gums when pregnant due to hormonal changes, general illness and poor dental hygiene. Malocclusion, (misaligned teeth) rough edges of fillings and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as splints, dentures, bridges and crowns) can irritate the gums and increase the risk of gingivitis.
At some point in their life most people experience gingivitis to a varying degree. It usually develops during puberty or early adulthood due to hormonal changes and may persist or recur frequently. With regular oral hygiene care gingivitis is preventable.