Gingiva is the muscles or gum that surrounds the teeth of our mouth. This gum holds our teeth together and helps to prevent food particles to enter the teeth. In gingivitis, the gum becomes inflamed, the primary reason for the same is plague build up. Plague gets in the teeth due to cavities. Cavities are formed due to acids produced by bacteria which arise due to improper dental hygiene. Cavities are holes in teeth that happen to almost 80 percent of all people till they reach their 30s. Cavities form when acid produced by bacteria wears down a tooth's outer enamel and further forms holes in it. The acid is produced by bacteria by breaking the sugar present in the food. Gingiva is thus affected by enamel, cavities, and inflammation and it can happen to anyone and is the most common dental problem.

Gingivitis is the early stage of Periodontitis; a gum disorder and it can happen to anyone irrespective of age and gender. However, the best thing is it can be prevented by following normal oral and dental hygiene. The main cause of gum inflammation is poor dental hygiene and it can be prevented. If not, then the gum disease will turn to periodontitis and this can have a serious problem for the teeth structure. The plague that is formed in the outer layer of teeth need to get rid of and our body's immune system releases more bacteria for the same and which causes gum infection. So, gingivitis is due to our own bodies' defense mechanism which changes due to cavities and plaque formation.

Gingivitis: Causes

The reason for infection in the gum is the formation of plaque which happens due to poor dental hygiene.

The following are the important causes of plague formation and causing Gingivitis −

  • Plague formation over the surface of the teeth is one of the most common reasons for tooth decay. Plagues form due to eating sugars and carbohydrates and not cleaning teeth after having food. This plague forms bacteria which further releases acids that cause small holes in the teeth called cavities.

  • Tartar formation. The longer the plaque is not removed from the surface of teeth the same is formed into a much harder cover called tartar which collects bacteria and causes further infection.

  • Poor oral hygiene is the main reason for the formation of plagues and gingivitis. Not brushing teeth, not flossing, and gargling can leave traces of food inside the mouth that can lead to cavities.

  • The structure of the teeth is also one of the reasons for cavities. While brushing most of the advantage is given to the front teeth while the molars in the back are mostly left out which plays a major role in chewing activities. Kids mostly left that molar out and this slowly led to cavities.

Gingivitis: Symptoms

The patient with Gingivitis mainly presents with the following symptoms that include −

  • The first and foremost symptom is pain in the gums. If you feel pain in the teeth and gums while eating or anything this may be an early sign of gum infection.

  • Bad breath coming from the mouth can be a sign of bacterial infection too.

  • A bad taste in the mouth is also one of the early signs.

  • Sensitivity while eating anything cold or hot. A sudden feeling of uneasiness while having something of extreme temperature can also relate to gum disorder.

  • Bleeding from the gum while brushing.

  • Swelling in the gums.

  • Dark, red, mushy types of gums.

Gingivitis: Risk Factors

Several factors play an important role in the development of Gingivitis which includes −

  • With teeth come teeth problems and with age the problems with teeth increase. Young people are more inclined to cavities due to their eating habits and lack of hygiene and older people are affected due to their weak bones and old dental problems that are overlooked.

  • A person who snacks a lot is also more at risk. They are not being able to gargle their mouth more frequently and the food particles are left behind.

  • Persons with bad food habits, like having a sweeter in their diet, carbohydrates, sugar, chocolates, cold drink, soda, fast foods, etc that sticks to their teeth for a long time are also at risk.

  • Lack of dental and oral hygiene is one of the most important reasons for cavities.

  • People not visiting the dentist regularly can also be at risk as cavities at an early stage are difficult to diagnose and patients never feel any pain or anything until the cavity reaches a deeper level. It is better to visit the dentist regularly to get teeth checked at regular intervals of time.

  • Medicines. Some of the medicines also affect the teeth.

Gingivitis: Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Gingivitis is mainly done based on history and some of the tests may be required for confirmation and to rule out underlying causes

  • Diagnosis of gum infection can be done by Dentists only during their check-ups and can do by asking a questionnaire or through their dental equipment.

  • The dentist can physically examine your teeth and touch and ask questions thereby.

  • They can ask about any pain and sensitivity issues.

  • Can use their dental equipment for examination for understanding the type of cavity i.e., a smooth surface, Pit & fissure, or root canal cavity.

  • Dental X-rays are used most often.

Gingivitis: Treatment

The treatment is based on the severity of the symptoms. Your doctor may advise conservative or surgical treatment.

  • Dental cleaning. The dentist will formally clean and stage a fluoride treatment that can be very effective for washing out the cavity. The dentist will look into the diet program and may suggest alternatives diet to have less exposure to sugar content.

  • Dental procedures. Filings, crowning, and root canals are used when it is felt that the plaque and cavities can’t be removed by simple procedures.

  • Mouthwash. Antibacterial mouthwash is used for washing out bacterial infections.

Gingivitis: Prevention

Gum infection is a normal problem that happens around everyone due to their eating habits and lack of dental hygiene. It can be prevented some of the methods of prevention are appended below −

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.

  • Visit your dentists regularly.

  • Change your eating habits.

  • Have fewer snacks or frequent meals.

  • Avoid sugar, carbohydrates, or fast foods.

  • Do not smoke.

  • Avoid Alcohol.

  • Daily floss to get rid of the cavity

  • Use good fluoride-based mouthwash.

  • Visit a doctor immediately in case of any symptoms of gum infection.

  • Teach good dental habits to kids from an early stage.

  • Rinse your mouth regularly.

  • Consider fluoride treatments.

  • Have food that is good for teeth.


It is frequently advised to take good care of your teeth and gum by brushing them frequently and gargling them. However, cavities and gum infections continue to be widespread concerns. The initial stage of a cavity's formation process begins when a person chews their food.

Gum infection can result from several factors, including poor dental hygiene. The outside surface of teeth, where the plague is generated, is where a cavity first develops. Cavities caused by the plague and those that are not caught in time may require tooth extraction. Gums are crucial since they not only aid in holding teeth but help to restore teeth strength.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 11-May-2023


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