Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease and is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth.

Establish a Daily Oral Health Routine

The most common cause of gingivitis is plaque left behind by inconsistent and/or inadequate plaque removal in one’s daily oral care routine at home. The plaque buildup that leads to gingivitis can be prevented with twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and twice-daily rinsing with an effective antiseptic mouthwash like LISTERINE®. For most patients, gingivitis can be prevented by establishing a complete and effective daily oral care routine and seeing your dentist regularly for a thorough professional tooth cleaning. However, in the case of periodontitis, your dentist or periodontist may recommend professional treatment options.

See Your Dentist Regularly

Regular visits to the dentist and professional cleanings can help ensure a cleaner and healthier mouth. Most people should see the dentist every six months for a routine check-up and cleaning to prevent plaque buildup and, if necessary, to remove tartar from the teeth. If you’ve noticed any potential signs of gingivitis, make sure to ask your dentist or hygienist about how you could be improving your oral health.

Illustration of an open mouth
Gums & Gum Disease

Periodontist vs. Dentist

A periodontist is someone who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. Consider a general dentist as more of a general practitioner of the mouth and a periodontist as someone who focuses on the gums and bone that support the teeth.

Advanced Periodontal Disease Treatments

If gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, more extensive treatments become necessary to address the problem. Typical treatments include scaling and root planing (deep cleaning).

Scaling removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line while root planing smoothes the tooth root which helps the gums reattach to the tooth. In advanced cases, your dentist or periodontist may also recommend gum surgery.