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gingivitis

gingivitis (jĭnˌjəvĪˈtĭs) [key], inflammation of the gums. It may be acute, subacute, chronic, or recurrent. The gums usually become red, swollen, and spongy, and bleed easily. Chronic gingivitis is the usual form, resulting from irritating bacteria or debris, food impaction, or poor dental restoration. It can also accompany vitamin C deficiency or metabolic disturbances such as diabetes. If left untreated, it can lead to the more serious pyorrhea, with gum destruction and loosening of teeth. Trench mouth, an ulcerative infection of the gums and mouth, is sometimes referred to as a form of gingivitis.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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