Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums (gingiva).
Gum disease; Periodontal disease
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease involves inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone).
Gingivitis is due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus, and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. It is a major cause of
Injury to the gums from any cause, including overly vigorous brushing or flossing of the teeth, can cause gingivitis.
The following raise your risk for developing gingivitis:
- General illness
- Pregnancy (hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums)
- Uncontrolled diabetes
Medications such as phenytoin and birth control pills, and heavy metals such as lead and bismuth are also associated with gingivitis.
Many people have gingivitis to a varying degree. It usually develops during puberty or early adulthood due to hormonal changes and may persist or recur frequently, depending on the health of your teeth and gums.