When you have gums that are red, swollen, or sore, you might have a condition called gingivitis. Gingivitis is an infection in the gums and is what dentists call the first stage of gum disease. If you have this or are worried you might get it, here are several things you should know about this disease, including what causes it and what puts you at a higher risk for developing it.

The causes of gingivitis

Gingivitis only develops on teeth when plaque is present and not removed from the teeth. Thorough brushing and flossing, you can remove most of this, but there is still a chance that some plaque will remain on your teeth even after doing these things each day. The problem with plaque that is left on the teeth is that the plaque contains bacteria, and this bacteria tends to go into the pockets of the gum lines, which are the areas where your gums meet your teeth. When bacteria gets in these areas, you might begin seeing signs of swelling, bleeding, or soreness of your gums, and this is what gingivitis is and what causes it to form.

Things that put you at a higher risk for gingivitis

There are a lot of things that can put you at a higher risk for developing gingivitis, and one of these is pregnancy. There is a link between pregnancy and gingivitis that exists primarily from the hormone changes that occur during pregnancy. Smoking is another thing that can put you at a higher risk for gingivitis. Older people also have a higher risk of getting this disease, and the way you eat can also affect your chances of developing gingivitis.

Steps you can take to prevent or treat gingivitis

If you want to prevent gingivitis, reverse it, or treat it, you will likely need to begin by developing better habits with brushing and flossing. Secondly, you may want to use a mouth rinse product that is designed to kill bacteria in your mouth, as using this type of rinse daily can also help. You could also go through a procedure at a local dental clinic that can help you treat this condition.

If you develop gingivitis, you will need to take action, as it will get worse if you simply ignore it. To find out more about the treatment options for gingivitis, call a local dental clinic like Sun Dental.