What are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?

One of the most noticeable symptoms of gingivitis, particularly in the early stages, is bleeding gums. This frequently occurs during, or immediately after, flossing and brushing teeth. Another common sign is sore or tender gums. The tissues may also appear red and often become inflamed. A receding gum-line is also quite usual. As the condition progresses to advanced disease, or periodontitis, teeth may begin to loosen.

Bleeding gums are a common indicator that gingivitis is present. It is often most apparent after the gums are manipulated or irritated, which can occur after flossing or brushing. Generally, the painful condition is caused by a build-up of tartar that usually results from bacteria accumulating in the mouth. Improper brushing, infrequent flossing, and avoidance of professional dental cleanings increase the risk of developing gingivitis, which can ultimately lead to periodontal disease.

In addition to this, tenderness and swelling of the tissues can be painful and make oral care difficult. Many times, the gums become bright red, and may start to recede, making the teeth appear larger. If left untreated, even eating may prove to be a painful task. These symptoms of gingivitis are one of the first signs of declining oral health.


Bleeding or painful gums may consume the entire mouth, but not always. Sometimes, these symptoms of gingivitis target only specific areas, such as the gums that support the back teeth. This is common for people who have difficulty reaching those teeth during flossing. Many times, improper brushing, such as when the toothbrush head is too large, leads to the condition because less attention is paid to the area. People who do not regularly visit the dentist for professional cleanings are at a higher risk for developing the problem.

Some people with symptoms of gingivitis notice an unpleasant taste in their mouth. The sensation may not go away regardless of brushing, hydration, or food intake, which is often troubling for the affected person. Persistent halitosis, or bad breath, is also a frequent indicator that oral hygiene issues need to be addressed by a dentist.

If gum disease is not treated, the bacteria and plaque build-up in the mouth can lead to periodontal disease, which may create pockets between the gums and teeth. Once this occurs, teeth may become loose or shift in the mouth. It may even affect the bone that holds the teeth in place. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss. Serious health risks, such as infection, heart attack, or stroke, can result in severe cases due to toxic bacteria from periodontitis entering the bloodstream.



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