Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis is one of many periodontal diseases that affect the health of the periodontium (those tissues that surround the teeth and include the gums, soft tissues, and bone). Chronic gingivitis leads to receding gums and can cause permanent damage to teeth. Gingivitis is a common cause of gum disease and a form of periodontitis.
Periodontal diseases are often classified according to their severity. They range from mild gingivitis, to more severe periodontitis, and more uncommon but serious acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, which can be life-threatening.
- Bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums. Although bacteria are normally found in our bodies and provide protective effects most of the time, bacteria can be harmful. The mouth is an ideal place for bacteria to live. The warm, moist environment and constant food supply are everything bacteria need to thrive. If not for a healthy immune system, bacteria in the mouth would rapidly reproduce out of control, overwhelming the body's defense system.
- An infection begins when the body's immune system is overwhelmed. The gum disease of gingivitis is an infection that occurs when bacteria invade soft tissues and potentially bone adjacent to teeth. The severity of this infection varies from mild to severe or life-threatening.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/6/2014
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