Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround your teeth, and is caused by a buildup of plaque. In its early stages, symptoms may include:
- gums that bleed easily
- red, swollen, tender gums
- bad breath
Some factors that can put you at higher risk of developing gingivitis include:
- poor dental care
- smoking or chewing tobacco
- crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
- medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
This might sound scary, but at this stage the disease is still reversible. Eliminating the infection can be as easy as trip to the dentist office for a professional cleaning, as well as daily brushing and flossing.
Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. This is why it’s important to schedule regular dental checkups in addition to maintaining a good dental routine of brushing and flossing.