What Is the Cause of Gingivitis? A Dental Health Guide

Almost half (47.2%) of the adults over the age of 30 in the United States have gingivitis. That number increases with age. Around 70.1% of adults over the age of 65 suffer from this disease. 

Without proper treatment, gingivitis can quickly spread bacteria throughout your gums. The bleeding that gingivitis causes in your gums can lead to the spread of this bacteria in your bloodstream. This can eventually lead to diseases in other parts of your body.

What is the cause of gingivitis and how can we prevent it? Conducting research about this gum disease gives you the upper hand and allows you to take back control of your oral health. Continue reading this guide below for a list of causes of gingivitis, treatments for gingivitis, and how to prevent it!

What Is Gingivitis?

If oral plaque builds up on your teeth for an extended period of time, bacteria from the plaque begin to irritate your gums. This irritation causes inflammation and swelling in your gums, which may also lead to bleeding. Plaque build-up doesn’t have to be significant to cause gum disease. 

You may brush your teeth every night, but failing to floss or brush close to the gums can cause you to miss some of the plaque. This plaque may hide near the base of your teeth, close to your gums. When you brush your teeth, try to target your gums and be sure to floss. 

Bleeding gums when flossing or brushing is a sign of gingivitis. Thankfully, with the right treatment, it can be corrected when caught in the early stages, but what are some causes?

That’s why you should seek immediate medical attention with this Cosmetic dentist in Clackamas if you think that you’re suffering from gingivitis.

Poor Oral Hygiene

One of the top causes of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Now, this doesn’t mean only someone who never brushes or flosses their teeth. Poor oral hygiene is much more than that. 

You may brush your teeth every day, but are you brushing for two whole minutes each time? Are you remembering to brush at least twice a day as well, or do you often fall asleep before brushing? Do you brush twice a day but skip out on flossing?

All of these scenarios lead to poor oral hygiene and gum disease. Brush twice a day for two minutes and floss each time you brush. 

Hormonal Changes 

Sometimes, poor oral hygiene has nothing to do with gingivitis. Sometimes, hormonal changes can be the root of the problem. During certain hormonal changes, your gums can become more sensitive and more prone to gingivitis. 

Hormone changes might occur during puberty, pregnancy, monthly menstruation, or menopause. During these times, take great care in ensuring you brush and floss as needed. 

Family Genetics

Family genetics might be the cause of gingivitis as well. Do you have a family history of gingivitis? If so, be sure to communicate this with your dentist. 

If any extra precautions need to be taken, then your dentist will explain them to you. Don’t hesitate to speak with your family member to learn if gum disease is a common issue in the family. 


Medications are beneficial in many different circumstances. When taken correctly, medications can save lives or improve the quality of life. However, there are times when you need to be careful of a medication’s side effects. 

For example, some medications can reduce saliva, which helps break down plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Other medications can cause abnormal growth of gingivitis in your gums. Always let your dentist know about any medications you’re taking. 

Bad Habits and Illnesses

Do you have a difficult time kicking bad habits? If so, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, a bad habit like smoking can make gum disease worse and even contribute to its development. 

Quitting smoking would be beneficial to not only your oral health but your overall health as well. Different illnesses can contribute to gum disease too, such as HIV or cancer. Illnesses that lower your immune system put you at greater risk, as well as having diabetes. 

If you have any of these illnesses, then you’ll want to schedule regular dentist appointments with a reputable dentist such as The Dental Team. Your dentist will work with you to determine the cause and then create a treatment and prevention plan. 

Signs of Gingivitis 

How will you know if you have gingivitis? There are a few signs to be on the lookout for. Here’s what you need to know.

  • gums that bleed while brushing or flossing
  • swollen and red gums
  • loose teeth
  • painful gums that are receding
  • bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth

This list isn’t exhaustive, but these are some of the common signs to look out for. It’s also important to note that you can also have gingivitis without any signs of it, so always schedule regular dental visits. 

How Can We Treat and Prevent Gingivitis?

Treating gum disease depends on how serious it is. When caught in the early stages, you can easily reverse gingivitis by brushing and flossing on a more regular basis and ensuring you’re removing all plaque in and around the gums. If gingivitis is more serious, then there are some nonsurgical and surgical treatments your dentist will discuss with you.

To prevent gum disease, make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day. Drink water or rinse with water after each meal and snack or after consuming sugary drinks, and don’t forget to visit your dentist as needed!

Stop Wondering What Is the Cause of Gingivitis, and Start Making the Change

Knowing what is the cause of gingivitis is the first step. After reading through this guide, you should now know what some of the main causes of gingivitis are.

Use this information to prevent yourself from getting gingivitis or spot the signs that you might already have gum disease. Then, seek medical attention to review treatment options with your dentist. 

For more health topics, continue to check back here on a regular basis. 


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