Gingivitis is a mild type of gum disease that usually results in soreness and light bleeding. However, it can progress to more serious conditions that could lead to tooth loss and the need for extensive and expensive oral surgery.

If you don’t think gingivitis is something to worry about, read on to have your mind changed.


If left untreated, gingivitis will often progress to periodontitis. This is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue in your mouth and destroys the alveolar bone that supports your teeth. When that bone is damaged, complicated surgery may be needed to save your teeth. You may also suffer from recurrent gum abscesses and serious damage to the periodontal ligament. Periodontitis is clearly a serious condition, but it’s also an entirely preventable one if you heed the warning signs of gingivitis and see your dentist as soon as possible.

Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis

While plenty of people have at least heard of periodontitis, few know about acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. It’s actually a far more serious condition; ‘necrotizing’ essentially means dying, while ‘ulcerative’ refers to the development of sores. If you have acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, the gums can be completely destroyed and large ulcers may leave permanent holes. This infection can quickly spread below your gums to the underlying alveolar bone, making your teeth unstable and more likely to fall out. In some cases, acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis can lead to gangrene in the lips and cheeks.

Bacterial Spread

Even if gingivitis doesn’t progress to a more serious type of gum disease, it can still cause problems. The bacteria in your mouth can reach the bloodstream and migrate to other organs. This can cause a wide range of serious issues; gum disease may lead to an increased risk of heart attack, heart disease, lung disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and stroke.