Signs Of Gum Disease

Last Updated December 2021

Overlooking a little blood in the sink after brushing or flossing might not seem like an issue at first, but there’s good reason to keep track of these signals – which are early signs of a very treatable, reversible form of gum disease. Left untreated, this mild stage of gum disease can progress to an advanced stage, which permanently damages the bones and tissue that hold teeth in place. Pay attention to these five most visible signals your body is sending you and keep your mouth healthy.

#1 You're Seeing Red

Red is the warning-sign colour for danger. So it makes sense that if you start peeking in the mirror and are seeing gums that are a shade of red, this could signal gums that are in trouble. Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. Bacteria can cause inflamed gums, which is known as gingivitis, the early, mild stage of gum disease, or periodontitis, the later, more serious stage of the disease.

#2 Your Gums Are Puffy

In the early stage of gum disease, gums can also swell as they become inflamed. 

#3 You See Blood in the Sink

Seeing blood in the sink when you spit into it after brushing and/or flossing is another symptom. Gums that bleed easily signal early-stage gum disease.

#4 You’ve Got Bad Breath

Bad breath, or having an exceedingly bad taste in your mouth, can also signal early gum disease. Plaque build-up on the teeth, gums and tongue is usually the culprit of bad breath.

Other changes in your mouth spurred by gum disease could also include tender-to-the-touch gums, odd new spaces forming between your teeth, loose teeth and/or a change in your bite or the way your teeth fit together when you bite. These are signs you should not ignore. If you take control of your gum situation, there's still a chance for you to avoid advanced gum disease.


You’re a Wine Lover

Red wine can stain teeth, but did you know that both red and white wine can actually damage your gums because they are high in acidity?

You’re a Nail Biter

Whether it’s incessant foot-tapping or hand-wringing, many of us have stress-induced habits. If yours is a nail-biting habit, know that each time you bring your hand to your mouth and start chewing, you’re inviting all sorts of germs and grime lodged under nails to your mouth.

You Don’t Have Time

Being too busy or too tired doesn’t mean your oral care should be ignored. We’ve all had lapses in our oral-care routine, but the reality is that taking a laid-back approach to brushing, sporadic flossing and rinsing results in visible plaque on teeth.

You’re a Toothpick Regular

These tiny sticks, when used the correct way, can clean areas between your teeth. But toothpicks are often used in a way that is not beneficial and damages gum tissue.



Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

You may see blood in the sink when you spit into it after brushing/flossing. But bleeding gums—even during a dentist cleaning—are not normal and not healthy. They’re a sign—possibly along with other often-missed red alerts like puffy, red, irritated gums—of gingivitis (early gum disease). Millions of adults have some form of gum disease, yet only a very small fraction realise it because gum pain is not an early symptom. The good news: early-stage gum disease is reversible, through improved daily mouth care and more frequent visits to the dentist for plaque and tartar removal with professional tools. But left ignored it can progress to serious gum disease (periodontitis) that attacks gums and is the number-one reason teeth fall out.


Why Are My Gums Receding?

You’ve recognised one of the most tell-tale signs of advanced stage gum disease. And this is not one you want to ignore. When you notice your gum pulling away from your teeth, and more of the lower part of your teeth becomes visible, your gums are receding. Often referred to as shrinking gums, when this happens, the roots of your teeth become exposed to harmful bacteria and your mouth becomes susceptible to a whole host of health issues. Left untreated, gum recession can have serious, irreversible consequences.