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Dental Glossary

Gingivitis1

The first stage of periodontal disease, characterized by inflammation of the gum tissue without any bone loss. The clinical signs are swelling and bleeding upon stimulation. Rarely are these signs noticed as a problem by patients. Many people think it is normal for gums to bleed when brushing, which is not true. Gingivitis is the result of chronic infection caused by plaque bacteria. Gingivitis is the first stage of your body's literally trying to reject your teeth, and requires immediate treatment if it is not to progress into more destructive forms of gum disease. A person can have gingivitis and periodontitis in different parts of the mouth at the same time. See Periodontitis.