Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. The problem begins with plaque, which can turn into tartar, which can then cause bacteria which irritates the gums. As you can see, one problem leads to another, which is why it is so important to treat the root cause of the problem, mainly poor dental hygiene.
Symptoms of gingivitis may include tender, swollen gums, bleeding from the gums, mouth sores, and a bright red or purplish color to the gums, receding gums, chronic bad breath, loose teeth or widening spaces between teeth and gums, and shiny gums.
Gingivitis is often caused by the bacteria in the mouth affecting the gums. This usually begins with the bacteria adhering to plaque on the teeth, which then evolves into tartar. Irritants and bacteria get into the gums and cause gingivitis. This disease can also be caused by injury or trauma to the gums. This could be from an accident, a fight or vigorous brushing or flossing. The problem is becoming more common in diabetics, pregnant women, people who are fighting off other illnesses, and those with poor dental hygiene. If the teeth have rough edges or are misaligned, or you use ill-fitting or unclean dentures or orthodontic appliances, this can increase the risk of developing the disease. Some medications like birth control pills or the ingestion of heavy metals can also put you at risk.
See your doctor or dentist if you have bad breath that persists for longer than 48 hours, if your teeth look longer (the gums are shrinking away from the teeth), if your teeth are loose, fall out or break off near the gum line, you notice a change in the way your teeth are aligned or the way your bite feels, if your dentures fit differently, if pus pockets form between your teeth and gums, or if your gums are swollen, sore and bleeding even with good oral hygiene.