What are Common Signs of Gingivitis?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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Signs of gingivitis are often readily apparent upon inspection of the mouth. Red, swollen gums are a good indication that gingivitis may be present. They may appear puffy or generally unhealthy, and can sometimes become painful. If the gums become sensitive, this may be another one of the signs of gingivitis. One of the most common signs of gingivitis is bleeding from the gums when brushing the teeth or flossing. While these are some of the most common signs of gingivitis, there are other indications that this gum disease may be present.

Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth are both common signs of gingivitis. The gum disease is caused by a bacteria called plaque that coats the teeth and gums, so without good oral hygiene, one might encounter a bad taste or bad breath due to the bacteria building up in the mouth. Gingivitis can cause gums to recede, thereby allowing pockets to form between the teeth. Plaque and food can work their way into these pockets, further advancing the gingivitis and exacerbating the symptoms.


Plaque buildup can be prevented to a point by regular brushing and flossing, but sometimes plaque can harden beyond the capabilities of the toothbrush. Regular dentist visits are therefore necessary, as the specialized tools a dentist uses are stronger than the toothbrush and can remove hardened plaque that brushing and flossing will miss. Further, regular visits to the dentist will ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of gingivitis, should it occur. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease and is therefore the most easily treatable, since it has not affected the bones or the tissue that connects bones to the gums. If left untreated, the gum disease will advance and worsen.

To prevent or counteract gingivitis, it is important to brush one's teeth twice daily, or after every meal. One should floss daily as well to prevent plaque and food from building up between teeth. Smoking can further cause damage to teeth, so if possible, smoking should be avoided. A healthy diet that promotes strong teeth and oral health is also necessary to prevent or counteract the signs of gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious condition that attacks the soft tissue of the gums. Periodontitis can promote tooth loss, increase the risk of heart attack, and increase the risk of stroke.


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