Have you noticed a bit of blood in your sink when you brush your teeth lately? That bleeding can be one of the earliest indicators of gum disease. The mild variety of gum disease is called gingivitis, and in this case, only your gums are infected. However, if left untreated, the infection can travel below your gum line and into your bone, developing into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. We take a look at some of the early signs and symptoms of gum disease.

What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum line that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth, and is caused by bacteria in dental plaque.. The three stages of gum disease, from least to most severe, are gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on your teeth soon after you have brushed. In an effort to get rid of the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that inflame and damage the gums, periodontal ligament or alveolar bone. This leads to swollen, bleeding gums, which is a sign of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.

Warning Signs:

Inflammation of the gums:
Gums are red, swollen and sensitive to the touch. Gums take on these properties because the toxins that plaque releases irritate the gum tissue. The toxins build up on the gumline and are a leading cause of gingivitis.

Teeth appear longer:
Gumline recession occurs for many people with gingivitis. Recessed gums reveal more of the teeth than healthy gums. Thus, teeth appear longer than they did before development of gum disease.

A pocket between the tooth and gum:
A pocket or area can develop between the tooth and gum. More than one pocket in the mouth may exist. If food particles fall into the pocket, bacteria can grow, the gum tissue may become irritated and if left untreated, an infection may develop.

Bad breath:
A warning sign of gingivitis is chronic foul breath. Bad breath is often a symptom of poor dental care, according to theAmerican Dental Association. Foul breath may pair with an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Pus between the tooth and gum:
Gum disease is likely if a thick, yellow fluid develops in the pocket between the tooth and gum. The fluid or pus may swell and be painful if pressure builds between the tooth and gum. An infection in the pocket between the tooth and gum is what causes pus to develop. In this situation, this infection could be a periodontal abscess or gum abscess.

Wiggly or shifting teeth:
Does your smile look a little different lately? Gum disease can attack the bones that hold your teeth in place, making them loosen or move. Periodontitis is the main cause, and it can even change the way your teeth fit together when you bite.


Many sufferers of gum disease have one or all of the abovementioned signs. If you think you may have gum disease, see your dentist for an evaluation and proper diagnosis. If you have gingivitis, your dentist or dental hygienist can recommend products to alleviate the condition and help you develop a dental regimen that will stop gum disease in its tracks.


If you have any questions about the warning signs of gum disease, call Winning Smiles to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-332-2444.

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