What is gingivitis/bleeding gums?
Gingiva is the soft tissue that surrounds the tooth and covers its supporting bone. Healthy gums indicate strong supporting bone and stable teeth. Gingivitis is the inflammation or disease of gums in its initial stages.
Dental plaque is the primary reason in initiating gingivitis. Dental plaque consists of salivary proteins which harbour microorganisms. A pellicle layer gets formed on teeth surface immediately after cleaning. Saliva and salivary proteins are the source of this pellicle. Microorganisms get attached to this layer and gradually, plaque gets formed over surfaces of teeth. In the initial stages, it can be cleaned easily. If left uncleaned, it can get converted to hard deposits called calculus or tartar.
Since dental plaque harbours microorganisms which release toxic products, the gums which are in close contact with these deposits get irritated or inflamed causing Gingivitis. The inflamed gum appears red or purple, is swollen and bleeds spontaneously. Gingivitis might also be associated with bad breath which is also known as halitosis.