What Causes Gingivitis?

What Causes Gingivitis?

Posted by Dr. Thomas Flavin Mar 31,2021

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Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease. It occurs when bacteria collect along the gum line. The bacteria irritate the gums, causing them to turn red and swell. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It does not usually cause pain. The common causes of gingivitis are as follows:

Poor dental hygiene

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that is caused by poor oral hygiene, particularly not brushing and flossing regularly enough. Daily oral care is essential; dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice per day and flossing at least once per day to remove all the bacteria and food particles from your mouth. This helps to prevent plaque from forming on your teeth, which is one of the main causes of gingivitis. When plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, it turns into tartar, which cannot be removed with brushing alone. By getting a professional cleaning twice a year, you can prevent the issue altogether. If your dentist does diagnose you with gingivitis, it is necessary to get professional treatment as soon as possible to avoid further complications. Fortunately, early treatment of gingivitis is usually successful at prevention and reversal, so you should see results right away with proper dental care. Additionally, make sure to follow your home care instructions as often as possible in the future to avoid future issues.


Most cases of gingivitis aren’t caused by anything you’re doing wrong in your oral hygiene routine. Instead, it’s usually the result of plaque buildup and oral bacteria in the mouth. Plaque contains large amounts of harmful bacteria that, when left unaddressed, can cause serious oral health issues.

Tobacco Use

Smoking, chewing tobacco, and using e-cigarettes are all habits that increase the risk of gingivitis. That’s because tobacco products contain thousands of different chemicals, many of which are known toxins. When these toxic chemicals are inhaled, they damage gums by increasing the risk of infection. They can also change the balance of bacteria in the mouth. Without the right balance of good and bad bacteria, gum disease is more likely to occur.

In addition to tobacco use, poor oral hygiene can also contribute to the development of gingivitis. Plaque that is not removed frequently enough can harden into calculus or tartar. This not only increases the risk of infection by trapping bacteria against teeth, but it can also irritate the gums and cause them to swell. The swollen gum tissues are more likely to bleed during brushing and flossing, which can eventually lead to gingivitis.

The best way to prevent gingivitis is to maintain good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing at least twice per day can help to remove plaque and prevent buildup. Regular cleanings and exams can also help to detect and treat gingivitis early when it’s easiest to treat. If you’ve experienced symptoms of gingivitis, schedule a visit with a cosmetic dentist to discuss treatment options.

We welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment if you suspect you may have gum disease. We’re always happy to help. 

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