Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, where food and plaque can get trapped inbetween the teeth and gums (below the gum line) and proper oral hygiene is not being performed every day to remove it. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria. It constantly forms on the surface of your teeth. As plaque advancese, it hardens and becomes tartar.
If left untreated, it can become a more serious infection known as periodontitis. Untreated, this infection inflames the gums which will then seperate the gums away from the teeth and the bone structure around the teeth becomes resorbed leading to loose teeth. Loose teeth can not be repaired and must be removed. Once the damage is done, the loss of attachment of the gums to the teeth, cannot be fixed, it can only be preserved and maintained at the present state with regular professional cleanings and regular home oral hygiene practice. Talk to your dentist about risk factors for gum disease as well as your symptoms. Your dentist also may order X-rays to check for bone loss and your dental hygienist will measure the depth of your pockets (from the top of the gum line to where it actually attaches to the tooth.) The normal depth is 1 to 3 millimeters.
It is extremely important to be aware that these diseases can cause an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and lung disease.
The following are additional risk factors for gingivitis:
Many people aren't aware that they have gingivitis. If gums are red, tender, or swollen and bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you have gingivitis.