Healthy gums are essential in order to maintain healthy teeth. In the mouth, each tooth is surrounded by the gingiva or gums, the cementum or root surface of the tooth, connective tissue, and bone. Bacteria that exist in the mouth can adhere to the surface of the teeth to produce a sticky substance that traps food particles and creates plaque.
Gingivitis develops when plaque builds up on the teeth and gums, causing swelling, redness, bleeding, and infection in the affected area. Risk factors for the development of gingivitis include injury or trauma to the gums, especially from overly vigorous brushing or flossing of the teeth, and certain medical conditions.
Gingivitis is the first sign of periodontal disease. This disease can damage teeth, roots and nerves and can lead to tooth loss if not treated appropriately.