What Are the Visible Signs of Gum Disease?

Visible signs of gum disease

Most patients understand that they need a dentist to diagnose and make recommendations for gum issues. Having said that, it is good for everyone who has teeth to have an idea of what the visible signs of gum disease. Gum disease is the second-most common dental health issue for adults in the U.S., but that isn’t because the disease is inevitable or difficult to prevent. On the contrary, most people develop severe gum disease because they missed the early signs that could have warned them of impending trouble. Today, we examine some of the visible changes that can occur due to early gum disease, as well as other symptoms that might not be as immediately obvious.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the common name for periodontal infection, which involves excess amounts of oral bacteria camping out underneath your gum tissues. Gingivitis is the only reversible stage of gum disease, and treating it as soon as you notice it could save you from having to manage gum disease for the rest of your life.

What You Should Look Out For

As your gums become more irritated by harmful oral bacteria, gingivitis can exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Red, irritated-looking gums, sometimes localized to a specific area
  • Inflammation in certain areas of your gums, or throughout all of your gum tissue
  • Chronic, increasingly worse breath
  • Darkening patches of gum tissues
  • Periodontal pockets (spaces between your teeth and your gums caused by gum recession)
  • Increasing tooth sensitivity as your teeth roots are exposed by gum recession

The Telltale Symptoms of Gum Disease

As gingivitis settles into your gums, you may notice the tissues becoming red and inflamed. You might also notice some bleeding when you brush and floss your teeth, or taste it when you’re eating. These signs indicate that your gums have become infected, and that you should visit your dentist for treatment as soon as possible. If caught and treated early, gingivitis may be stopped before more serious gum disease develops and threatens the rest of your oral health.

Why Your Gums Change Appearance

As the name suggests, gum disease affects the soft gum tissues that surround your teeth roots and cover your dental ridges. The disease is the result of chronic infection and inflammation in your gums, which are caused by excessive buildup of harmful oral bacteria. As the infection develops and matures, the color of your gums can become red, swollen, and highly irritated. The more severe gum disease becomes, the darker your gum tissues may become.

Other Common Signs of Gum Disease

In addition to swelling and changes in the color of your gums, gum disease can also cause the tissue to separate (or recede) from your teeth roots. Though not obvious at first, the periodontal pockets formed by gum recession can become more noticeable the deeper the separation grows. You might also notice increasing sensitivity in your teeth roots as gum recession exposes them, as well as bleeding in your gums whenever you brush and floss your teeth.

Find Out More About Treating Gum Disease

If you notice any visible changes to your gums that might indicate gingivitis or gum disease, then schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of Chicago and all surrounding communities in the Chicago Metro area.