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Most of us are aware that poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath – but not brushing your teeth could also have consequences for more serious illnesses.

Gum health can be broken down into 3 categories.

  • Healthy
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis

What is Gingivitis?

The term gingivitis is used to describe inflammation of the gums, or gingiva. It commonly occurs because a film of plaque, or bacteria, accumulates on the teeth. It is a non-destructive type of periodontal disease, but untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.

Signs of gingivitis include:

  • Red puffy gums
  • Gums that bleed easily when brushing your teeth
  • Gingivitis resolves with good oral hygiene, such as longer and more frequent brushing, and flossing

What is Periodontitis?

When gingivitis is left untreated for a prolonged period it can progress to periodontitis, often without any obvious signs to alert you. However, some changes that you might experience over time include:

  • Increased bleeding of the gums
  • Bad breath
  • Changes in the positioning of the teeth in the jaws
  • Lengthening of the teeth (gum recession)
  • Sensitivity of teeth or soreness of gums


Bleeding from the gums may be less noticeable in smokers, because of the effect of nicotine on blood vessels, and so the disease process may be masked.

Therefore going to see your trusted Wellington Dentist on a regular basis is important, because not only does it keep your smile attractive. It also tells the dentist a lot about your overall health, including whether you may be at risk for chronic disease.

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