11 Early Signs of Gum Disease

Posted by John Lee - August 31, 2016 - Uncategorized - No Comments

When you think about oral health, you most likely focus on the way your teeth look and feel. However, your teeth rely on healthy, tight gums for support. When your gums become diseased, it can lead to a host of other issues. In fact, advanced periodontal disease has been linked to a number of health conditions that we discuss in our previous blog "Does Periodontal Disease Cause Other Diseases?"

So how do you know when you need help combating gum disease? In this blog, we list 11 common early signs of gum disease.

1. Bleeding During or After Brushing

If you notice bleeding when you brush, your first thought may be that you simply pressed too hard. However, in most cases, bleeding during brushing actually indicates unhealthy gum tissue that lacks strength and elasticity it would usually have.

2. Change in Overall Bite Alignment

Your gums do most of the work to keep your teeth in place. If you notice that your teeth don't fit together the way you're used to over time, an untreated gum condition could be the cause.

3. Change in Taste

Much of the sensory input your tongue processes comes from the surface of your gums. If bacteria has settled on the gums or an infection has taken hold, you may notice a lingering unpleasant taste or changes in how your mouth feels.

4. Discolored Gum Tissue

Healthy gums look taut and pink. When gums become damaged, they can change color in a number of ways. You might notice dark spots which look similar to bruises, red or irritated patches, or even a purple coloration.

5. Increased Tooth Sensitivity

Your gums cover one of the most sensitive portions of your teeth: the root. When gums become unhealthy, they pull away and expose this sensitive section. If you experience increased sensitivity, especially near the base of your teeth, you may have a gum disease.

6. Loose Permanent Teeth

In addition to misalignment, loose gums can make even permanent teeth feel wobbly. If you can shift a tooth with your tongue, you should see a dentist about saving that tooth as soon as possible. You might also notice movement around partial dentures or bridges.

7. New Spaces Between Teeth

If your teeth begin to shift, you may notice visible changes to your smile, including new gaps. Read through our previous blog "Braces, Now Spaces: Caring for Teeth After They've Moved" to learn how to care for the teeth around these gaps between now and your next appointment.

8. Pain When Chewing

Without normal support, you may notice more tooth discomfort. One of the most common symptoms of gum disease is pangs or twinges in the teeth while chewing.

9. Persistent Bad Breath

Just as gum disease can change the way your mouth tastes, it can also change how your mouth smells. If your bad breath does not respond to countermeasures, it may indicate gum disease.

10. Sores or Pockets in Gums

As gums pull away from teeth, they can leave small pockets that provide the perfect living environment for harmful bacteria. Address any sores, pockets, or discharge with your dentist as soon as possible.

11. Swollen or Tender Gum Tissue

In addition to discoloration, unhealthy gums can change shape or sensation. If you notice a sudden swelling or tenderness that doesn't go away with gentle, routine brushing, it may indicate a gum condition.


If you notice any combination of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Early treatment and an adequate change in oral hygiene habits can prevent most of the complications associated with periodontal disease.

To learn more about the causes, stages, and prevention of periodontal disease, visit our periodontal disease service page.