What is gingivitis?: Dr Ros O' Leary, Periodontist
Gingivitis literally means 'inflammation of the gums'. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, or tartar - which is just calcified plaque - and they act as an irritant to the gums. So the gums become red, they bleed and become inflamed.
Gingivitis however is something that is reversible. If you get rid of the plaque and tartar around the teeth - be it either through your help or through the hygienist - and you start cleaning properly, it can resolve as though it has never happened before. So the good news about gingivitis is that it is reversible, especially in its earlier stages.