Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease. Gingivitis causes red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed, and it may cause bad breath.

Because pain is not usually a symptom of gingivitis, many people do not seek treatment. If not treated, gum disease can progress to advanced gum disease (periodontitis), which may lead to loss of teeth.

Gingivitis is caused by poor tooth care. It can be prevented, treated, and reversed by brushing twice a day—in the morning and before bedtime—and flossing once a day.

Last Updated: August 21, 2009

Author: Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry

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