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. Dealing with this would involve comprehensive treatment, including antibiotics for the gum infection and all-on-4 dental implants if there has been tooth loss. Lifestyle and dietary changes may also be required to combat the issue.

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. Preventing bacterial spread due to gingivitis involves maintaining good oral hygiene through regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings, while seeking prompt dental care when signs of gum inflammation appear to prevent progression to the more severe periodontitis.

In conclusion, the potential consequences of neglecting gingivitis should not be underestimated. What might begin as mild gum soreness and light bleeding can swiftly evolve into far more serious conditions like periodontitis, a gum infection that threatens not only the soft tissues in the mouth but also the very foundation of your teeth. The need for complicated oral surgery and the risk of losing teeth become all too real.

Moreover, the lesser-known yet even more severe acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of unaddressed gum disease, with the potential for extensive damage to the gums and supporting structures, not to mention the threat of widespread infection.

Beyond these dental concerns, the bacterial spread from gingivitis into the bloodstream poses a risk to overall health, potentially leading to a range of serious systemic issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to take gingivitis seriously and seek prompt dental care at the first signs of trouble to avoid more severe oral health problems and their associated consequences.