Spotting the Early Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease and a common condition that affects most adults. Aside from causing mild symptoms, it can develop into a more severe condition without proper treatment. This severe condition is often referred to as periodontitis, which can lead to further complications such as the loss of teeth. The most common cause of gingivitis is the bacterial buildup around the teeth. 

This common gum condition affects millions of people every year. Risk factors of this condition include vitamin deficiencies, changes in hormones, drugs, and smoking. Aside from recognizing the early signs and symptoms, it’s important to avoid smoking and the use of drugs to prevent this gum disease. Here are the following symptoms that you might get from gingivitis: 

A change in the color of your gums

Healthy gums are usually pink and firm to the touch. If you’re noticing a change in the color of your gums, you can blame it on the harmless side effects of oral procedures or regular hormonal changes. But there are instances when it may be a sign that you have gingivitis. 

Gums can turn red or purple in most severe cases when they become inflamed due to gingivitis. When blood flow increases to your gums because your body is trying to fight off the infection, it may result in a change of color of your gums. The gums may start to recede, which can reveal more of the tooth and make your gums appear longer than usual as gingivitis progresses. 

Pockets or gaps forming between the teeth and gums

Periodontitis may be caused by inflammation or ongoing swelling and gum irritation. As a result, this can cause deep pockets that will form between your teeth and gums. Over time, these pockets fill with bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Ongoing inflammation can even cause other health problems as it can strain your immune system. 

These deep infections can cause a loss of bone and tissue if not treated properly. As a result, you may lose one or more teeth. A small tool called a periodontal probe is used by dental professionals to measure the depth of these pockets during a dental exam. The indication of gum disease can be seen if the pockets appear deeper than normal. The required treatments for this disease would be periodontal surgery, scaling, and root planing. 

Persistent bad breath

One of the early signs of gum disease is halitosis, which is caused by the construction of plaque bacteria along the gum line. This sign is also responsible for bad breath. Plaque can cause swollen gums and bleeding if this isn’t removed, which can show symptoms of gingivitis. 

If you aren’t flossing and brushing daily, the oral bacteria that lives on your mouth will feed on the protein that’s stuck between your teeth and gums. When exhaled, they release volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) or sulfur gas, which can lead to stinky breath. 

Changes in the way your teeth fit together

This symptom occurs when your gums become inflamed and pull away from the teeth, leading to changes in your teeth alignment due to the damage to the bone that supports your teeth. Eventually, you’ll find it difficult to speak properly or chew your food since this can cause your bite to feel uncomfortable or different. 

Malocclusion occurs when there’s a misalignment in your teeth. Due to this condition, some habits or conditions can change the structure and shape of your jaw. These include the tumors in your mouth or jaw, cleft lip and palate, thumbs sucking in early childhood, and atypically shaped or impacted teeth. To prevent misalignment of your teeth or malocclusion, it’s essential to see a dental professional for evaluation and treatment. 

Swollen or puffy gums

One of the most common symptoms of gum disease is swollen gums. Swollen gums can be a temporary or permanent condition. This symptom usually has a purplish or reddish hue due to the increase of blood flow. They usually bleed and may also appear smooth or shiny.

Swelling can also be accompanied by pain or tenderness when flossing or brushing. Swollen or puffy gums are indicators that the body is trying to defeat the infection caused by the construction of bacteria and plaque. Further damage to the gums and teeth may occur as gingivitis progresses if left untreated. 

Redness or inflammation of the gums

Young woman showing inflamed gums on grey background, closeup

It’s important to remember that the color red is a warning sign of danger. So when you start seeing your gums in the shade of red or purple when you look in the mirror, this could be a sign that your gums are in serious trouble. Gingivitis or bacteria can be the reason behind inflamed gums. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that gingivitis is the early and mild stage of periodontitis. In the next phase of gingivitis, periodontitis happens when the gums can pull away from the tooth, and the teeth may loosen or fall out entirely. 

Tender or sensitive gums

Using stiff bristles may cause unnecessary irritation to the gums, which can lead to gum receding over time. This can also damage the teeth and result in tooth sensitivity and enamel loss. Sore gums and teeth are said to be a product of hard brushing. So there are instances when individuals are skeptical about brushing the gum line altogether.

So when you consult your doctor about having gingivitis, your doctor will likely explain that improper gum care is the cause of bleeding or having sensitive gums. It’s crucial to know that you need to brush your teeth better to remove plaque buildup along your gum line to reduce the effects of gingivitis. 

A bitter or unpleasant taste in the mouth

Inflammation, redness, and bleeding of the gums as causes of gingivitis can result in a bitter or unpleasant taste in the mouth. Inflamed gums can release toxins that can give the mouth a bitter or metallic taste. Odorous compounds are usually produced by bacteria and plaque buildup, which can also contribute to bad odor. 

Aside from being a symptom of gingivitis, an unpleasant taste in the mouth has several causes. This already includes poor dental and hygiene problems, oral thrush, hormonal changes, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal causes. Which is why it’s necessary to acquire professional dental cleaning and periodontal treatment from your dentist to lessen the impacts of this symptom. 

Receding gums

When gums are inflamed and irritated by the buildup of bacteria and plaque, they can begin to pull away from the teeth. This occurrence may lead to the exposure of sensitive tooth roots due to gum recession. Aside from being a symptom of gingivitis, gum recession is also caused by several factors, such as smoking, genetics, and aggressive brushing.

Receding gums or the impact of gum recession can make your teeth more vulnerable to cavities. This will eventually lead to tooth sensitivity, and you may find a hard time brushing it or eating. Gum recession can affect one tooth or multiple teeth but can also be mild, moderate, and severe.

Bleeding when brushing or flossing

When regular brushing or flossing can’t remove the plaque, it can cause inflammation and irritate the gums. This will lead to bleeding every time you brush or floss your teeth. One of the first signs of gingivitis is bleeding gums, which is why it’s important to address the condition early to prevent it from developing into more severe conditions.

If the plaque isn’t yet removed despite regular brushing or flossing, it will only harden the tartar. This will result from increased bleeding as a product of periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum and jaw bone disease. 


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