Gingivitis (Gum Disease): Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms

Gum disease is an inflammatory condition of the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. A plaque buildup usually causes it—the sticky film made up of bacteria found in your mouth—and can lead to significant health problems if not adequately treated. Symptoms may include bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, swelling around or receding from the gum line, tenderness when eating or speaking, bad breath, loosening teeth, and even tooth loss. Early detection is key to proper treatment, so read for more details about gum disease causes, symptoms, and available treatments. Some of the best dentists in El Cajon brought you the following information.

What is gum disease, and what are the causes?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease and periodontitis, is a common inflammatory condition of the gums around the teeth. It is caused by poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing or flossing regularly enough and leaving food particles stuck between the teeth. Other causes include smoking and tobacco use, hormones, genetics, diabetes, medications that reduce saliva production, clenching and grinding teeth (bruxism), and certain diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or AIDS. Research has indicated that gum disease is associated with a heart attack in men and low-birth weight in premature babies born to mothers with severe gum infections. Early detection can help avoid dental problems and maintain oral health.

What are different gums diseases?

It is divided into two main types: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is an early stage of infection in which plaque accumulates on the teeth and causes redness, swelling, and tenderness. Left untreated, it can cause further damage to the teeth, leading to periodontitis. Periodontitis damages the soft tissue and bone surrounding the tooth to the point that it cannot be repaired by regular brushing or flossing – only through professional treatment. If you notice any signs of gum disease, taking action is essential, as it can eventually cause teeth to become loose or fall out altogether. Caring for your oral health by brushing twice daily and visiting a dentist regularly will reduce your risk of contracting gum disease.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Gum disease has some symptoms. It can cause inflammation and infection in the soft tissues surrounding your teeth, including the gums. Symptoms of gum disease often include swollen and tender gums that may bleed when brushing. Bad breath and receding gums can be indications as well. In more severe cases, spaces may form between your teeth, or your teeth may start to feel loose or shift position. As gum disease progresses, you may experience abscesses or deep pockets around your tooth roots, which can lead to the loss of the alveolar bone that supports the teeth. Consulting with a dentist can ensure early diagnosis and help you get the necessary treatment to stop the condition’s advancement.

What are the treatment options for gum disease?

Treatment options depend on the severity of the patient’s case and include deep cleaning, antibiotics in the form of mouthwashes or tablets, laser therapy, and, in some cases, surgery. Deep cleaning involves scaling to remove plaque and tartar buildup below the gum line and root planing to smooth out any unevenness in the teeth to prevent future bacterial buildup. When this procedure cannot reach deeper pockets within the gums, a dentist may prescribe antibiotics in addition to regular cleanings. For more advanced cases of gum disease, laser therapy can target diseased tissue while leaving healthy tissue untouched. In rare cases where tissue damage is too widespread for other treatments, a periodontist may recommend surgery as part of a long-term recovery plan. Taking proper care of your gums through daily preventive measures and following your dentist’s instructions for treatment is essential for managing gum disease.

How to prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place

Taking preventative measures is the most crucial step to avoiding gum disease. Brushing and flossing twice daily should be part of everyone’s daily hygiene routine. These are critical methods for removing plaque accumulation from gum lines that can lead to gum recession and further issues. In addition, utilizing an antiseptic mouthwash that kills bacteria also helps keep gums healthy – it can kill off any microorganisms in the mouth that could cause infection and inflammation. Furthermore, cutting back on sugary or acidic foods will help avoid plaque buildup even further, as sugar acts as a food source for bacteria which can ultimately lead to gum disease. Regular dental checkups every six months are essential so that any warning signs of potential problems can be identified and tended to promptly by your dentist. These preventive steps will help ensure that everyone enjoys healthy gums for years.


Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support and surround your teeth. Bacteria cause it in plaque, a sticky film that forms on your teeth. If plaque isn’t removed through brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar. Tartar harbors even more bacteria and causes gum inflammation (gingivitis). Gingivitis is often painless, but if left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease that affects the bone supporting your teeth. You should consult with El Cajon Dental and Orthodontics if you have any concerns about your gums or mouth health. Thanks for reading!

By Rehan

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