What Is Gingivitis? 

added on: March 30, 2021

Gingivitis is a type of gum disease and is the mildest stage of gum disease. At its core, gingivitis means that there is an active infection in the gum tissue, but it can be treated and cured if it’s caught and treated by your dentist in Chapel Hill before it has a chance to progress into a more severe infection. If gingivitis is not treated, it can cause tooth loss and even increase the risk of heart disease or stroke. 


The most common cause of gingivitis is poor dental hygiene. When teeth aren’t thoroughly cleaned with daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up on and in between teeth. Now, while plaque is completely normal, brushing and flossing typically remove it. But when plaque is left to build up, the bacteria in the plaque can cause problems. Not only can these bacteria cause an infection in the gum tissue, but they can also cause tooth decay and increase the risk of cavities. Additionally, plaque can also harden into tartar, which can only be removed by your dentist in Chapel Hill.

However, poor dental hygiene isn’t the only cause of gingivitis, and even those who take great care of their teeth may still develop it. Some other causes of gingivitis include: 

  • Hormonal changes that can occur during pregnancy, menopause, or puberty
  • Some diseases such as cancer and diabetes
  • Dry mouth, which can be caused by certain medications
  • Tobacco use
  • Age

Signs & Symptoms

One of the tough parts about gingivitis is that it can show no signs or symptoms until it develops into a more severe stage of gum disease. However, some of the early warning signs of gingivitis may include: 

  • Bright red gums
  • Tender or painful gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Swelling of the gums
  • Receding gums

If you notice any signs of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Chapel Hill as soon as possible. 


Gingivitis will need to be treated by your dentist and may include a deep cleaning or the use of an antibiotic. Your dentist in Chapel Hill may also recommend that you come in for dental cleanings more than twice a year to keep your gums healthy. Additionally, treatment to fix hard-to-clean crooked teeth or poor-fitting dentures or restorations may be part of your treatment plan. 

The best way to protect yourself against gingivitis is to take excellent care of your teeth by brushing and flossing every day. It’s also important to keep your dental appointments as scheduled so any problems can be caught early when treatment is often more successful.

If you’ve been putting off your dental appointments, do your health a favor and schedule a visit today. 

Posted In: Oral Health, General