Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that support the teeth. It is characterized by swollen red or purple gums that bleed easily or spontaneously. The most common form is caused by the accumulation of bacterial plaque at the base of the teeth due to inadequate brushing and flossing, combined with failure to have teeth regularly scaled by a dental professional.
In part, gingivitis is a response of the immune system to the bacterial infiltration of the gums which in tern leads to the immune system destroying the gum tissue as a result. As such, it can partly be characterized as an autoimmune disease.
If untreated, gingivitis can proceed to peridontitis which causes bone loss and can lead to tooth loss. ,
Treatment focuses on removal of the plaque by dental scaling, followed by a more thorough regular dental hygiene regimen.