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What Causes Gingivitis?

We’ve been fighting against it since the very first time we brushed our teeth, but do we really know what causes gingivitis? Or better, how we can avoid it?

“Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, or commonly referred to as gum disease. It’s caused by the buildup of bacteria or plaque. If left untreated it can lead to very serious problems like tooth loss,” says Dr. Espinosa.

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. When sugars and starches interact with normal bacteria in your mouth they form a sticky film called plaque. Brushing twice a day helps eliminate plaque, but if not done consistently it can reform quickly.

Tartar is the result of plaque hardening on your teeth. It forms a protective shield of bacteria along the gumline and can’t be removed with simply brushing or flossing. Tartar must be removed by visiting the dentist for a cleaning. The longer plaque and tartar stay on your teeth, the more aggravated your gingiva can become – this is the part of your gums around the base of your teeth. This in turn, may cause your gums to swell or bleed.

Gingivitis is seldom painful, so here are some other common symptoms you may see:

Soft, puffy gums

Receding gums

Tender gums

Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing

A change in the color of your gums from light pink to dark

Bad breath

“During your regular appointments we are looking for these types of signs. However, if you notice any of these irregularities between visits please contact our office.” – Dr. Espinosa

Anyone can develop gingivitis, but there are a number of factors that may increase chances of getting gum disease aside from poor oral health care, including:

Alcohol, Tabacco and drug use


Old age

Certain medications

Decreased immune system

Dry mouth

Hormone changes

Poor diet

Gum problems may lead to loss of teeth, but can also further put your body at risk. Untreated gingivitis and poor oral care may also contribute to the overall health of your body. While studies haven’t proven the direct correlation, poor oral hygiene may be associated with heart attacks, strokes, lung disease and women giving birth to underweight babies.

We want to help you with the fight against gingivitis, which is why the Bonita Del Rey team is committed to educating you on proper oral health care. Visit our blog for previous posts and articles about the following topics! And please know, if you ever have any questions you are welcome to call our office for more information.

Brush Up On Tooth Emergencies

Choose the Right Toothbrush/Toothpaste for You!

Improving Your Immune System During Flu Season

Oral Cancer Awareness

Bonita Del Rey Blog

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