Gingivitis is so named because it involves inflammation of the gums, or gingiva. This usually occurs due to a build-up of plaque. Gingivitis is non-destructive, so it isn’t a huge problem in and of itself. However, untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a far more serious type of gum disease that often leads to tooth loss. While a dentist can provide a gum disease treatment for those who need it, preventing it from happening in the first place with good oral health care is often the best practice.
The symptoms of gingivitis can be relatively mild, but you’ll still want to make sure they’re on your radar. If you notice any of the following four common symptoms, it’s time to talk to your dentist.
Plaque releases toxins that irritate the gum tissue. When you aren’t getting rid of that plaque, toxins built up around the gumline can leave your gums feeling sensitive or sore to the touch. You’re unlikely to experience any noticeable pain throughout the day, but you may notice discomfort when you’re eating or soreness after you’ve brushed and flossed.
Bleeding gums are probably the most common symptom of gingivitis that actually gets people to take action. When the gums are irritated, they may start to bleed when you press against them with a finger. Most people first notice how easily their gums will bleed after brushing their teeth. If you start spitting red, you should speak to your dentist.
- Redness or Puffiness
Even if you don’t notice any discomfort, you may be able to see the effects of gingivitis simply by looking in the mirror. Even early-stage gum disease can leave your gums looking red and puffy, especially after you’ve brushed.
- Bad Breath
Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors, and gingivitis is a common one. If your breath remains unpleasant despite the amount of water you drink or gum you chew, you should visit your dentist to find out what’s wrong, especially if foul breath is accompanied by an unpleasant taste.