What is Gingivitis?

The term gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gingiva (gums).


Gingivitis (inflamed gums) is present in virtually all mouths to some extent.

Risk Factors

Four different types of Chronic gingivitis are described, depending on the predisposing factors:

  1. Plaque-induced gingivitis. This gingivitis occurs as a result of infection caused by the presence of dental plaque.


  • Gingivitis modified by systemic factors. These would include puberty-associated gingivitis, menstrual cycle-associated gingivitis, pregnancy-associated gingivitis, diabetes mellitus-associated gingivitis and gingivitis associated with leukaemia.
  • Gingivitis modified by medications. These include drug-influenced gingival enlargement and drug-induced gingivitis, like oral contraceptive-associated gingivitis and drug-induced gingival overgrowth due to phenytoin or cyclosporin.
  • Gingivitis modified by malnutrition. These include gingivitis due to vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) or protein deficiency.Acute necrotisinig ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG)Acute necrotisinig ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) is also known as, Vincent’s gingivitis, Vincent’s gingivostomatitis, ulceromembraneous gingivitis, or trench mouth.


    Red, swollen and bleeding gums on brushing is an indication that you may have gingivitis (inflamed gums).


    Gingivitis is reversible if treated. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to an irreversible condition called periodontitis where the inflammation spreads to the bone supporting the teeth.


    Scaling and polishing of the teeth that is performed by your dentist or hygienist are the usual treatment in addition to oral hygiene instructions such as tooth brushing, flossing and the use of mouth rinses.


    1. Cawson, R. Essentials of oral pathology and oral medicine. Sixth edition. Uk, Churchill livingstone, 1998.
    2. Mitchell, D. Oxford handbook of CLINICAL DENTISTRY.Forth edition. New York, Oxford university press, 2005.
    3. Soames, J. Oral Pathology. Third edition. New York, Oxford university press, 1997.
    4. Wilson, T. Fundamentals of Periodontics. First edition. Chicago, Quintessence Publishing co. 1996.