To understand gingivitis, it is important to have an idea of the anatomy of the tooth and its supporting structure.
When a tooth is clean, the gums around it are usually pink and healthy.
If the tooth is not properly cleaned, plaque forms and accumulates on its surface.
Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria (very small germs) that grows on any tooth surface, even between the teeth.
Plaque causes irritation of the gums. The gums usually become red and slightly swollen.
This condition is called gingivitis.
When gingivitis is present:
Almost all advanced periodontal diseases start with gingivitis.