Gingivitis is the most common form of gum disease, affecting almost all adults at some point in their lives. If left unattended, gingivitis can further develop to periodontitis, which is a more severe type of gum disease.

On a daily basis, bacteria builds up in the surfaces of the teeth, forming deposits known as dental plaque. Ideally, tooth brushing and flossing removes dental plaque and maintain oral health.

When plaque is not efficiently removed, it triggers a reaction in the gums, initiating inflammation of the soft tissues that surround the teeth, known as gingivitis.



Gingivitis rarely causes pain, reason why it often goes unnoticed. The most common signs of gingivitis include:

  • Bleeding during flossing or brushing: most people ignore this sign, thinking that it is normal to bleed during oral hygiene. Under normal conditions, there should be no bleeding from the gums.
  • Mild swelling, redness: usually noticed by the dentist
  • Bad breath: can be a consequence of gingivitis

Poor oral hygiene is the main cause of gingivitis. Bacterial plaque that is not removed can calcify and become tartar, further attracting bacteria. Ill-fitting fillings and crowns can harbour bacteria, becoming a challenge for oral hygiene and increasing the risk for gingivitis.

General risk factors that can make some people more prone to gingivitis, include smoking, pregnancy, dry mouth, lack of vitamins, medications (some drugs for epilepsy and high blood pressure), diseases that affect the immune system (leukemia, HIV/AIDS) and certain virus and fungal infections.



Because daily removal of plaque is essential for oral health and for prevention of decay, gum disease and bad breath, some types of bad bite that affect oral hygiene can increase the risk for these problems. For instance, people with severe crowding and general lack of space can have a hard time cleaning their mouths. Teeth that are tilted, rotated, crooked, misplaced or misaligned can be difficult to keep clean. Thus, plaque accumulation can become a serious consequence of bad bite.

When the arches are too narrow, the nose cavity is also narrow and it can result in mouth breathing. One of the consequences of mouth breathing is dry mouth. Saliva plays a key role in protecting the surface of the teeth and gums and in providing some defence against bacteria. Hence, dry mouth often leads to bacteria build-up and inflammation.



Gingivitis is a reversible inflammation; however, it can progress to periodontitis, which is associated with loss of the bone that supports the teeth. Thus, treating gingivitis is the best way to prevent periodontitis and avoid potential tooth loss.

The dentist should always look at the general health to exclude medical problems as possible causes for gingivitis. Normally, treatment includes improvement of oral hygiene, professional dental cleaning and polishing to remove bacteria and potential improvement or replacement of poor quality fillings.

There is one rare form of gingivitis, called ‘trench mouth’, which can be very painful. It is an acute condition associated with ulceration of the gums. In this case, the dentist can prescribe combine antibiotics with the removal of plaque.



Ideally, treatment for gingivitis should also prevent the disease from recurring. However, if oral hygiene is not satisfactory, gingivitis is very likely to develop again.

If a bad bite is present, it can be nearly impossible to keep teeth and gums clean. In this case, orthodontic treatment can be recommended to correct crowding and misalignments, in order to correct the bite and facilitate oral hygiene. The extra benefit is that the smile also gets fixed, so general appearance and self-esteem can be boosted. Correction of the bite also prevents other problems in the jaw joint and muscles in the head, neck and back areas.

Clear aligner therapy is the first choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment. Among the many advantages of the aligners, their convenience and discrete appearance are probably the most important for adults.

This technology provides a simple and straightforward solution through the consecutive use of thin plastic trays, which slowly reposition teeth and jaws without affecting everyday life.

Do you notice bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth? Do not delay; get an appointment with your dentist in order to restore your oral health.