Symptoms of Gum Disease

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is caused by the accumulation of bacteria-ridden plaque on the teeth. This collects along the line where your teeth meet your gums, and over time, the bacteria within the plaque can irritate your gums, causing the first symptoms of gum disease.

In its earliest stage, gum disease is often referred to as gingivitis. However, as the disease progresses and becomes more severe, it may be known as periodontal disease or periodontitis.

What happens if gum disease is left untreated?

It is crucial that you seek professional dental advice if you believe that you are suffering from gum disease. Although the initial symptoms may seem mild, you could be putting your teeth and general health at risk if you fail to arrange prompt treatment.

One of the main consequences of severe periodontal disease is the impact it has on the soft tissue inside the mouth. Many of us underestimate the important role that our gums have in keeping our teeth securely in place in our mouths. However, when we suffer from gum disease, the health and quality of the gum tissue can be severely compromised, which can cause teeth to come loose.

Infection is a key side effect of periodontal disease. Left untreated, infections in the gum can spread very quickly, both to the rest of the oral cavity, and through the bloodstream to our vital organs. This can put our general health at serious risk. Similarly, infection can also have a negative impact on the quality and density of the jaw bone, which can cause teeth to become loose in their sockets.

Medical practitioners have spent a good deal of time looking at the links between periodontal disease and our health, and have found proven connections between gum disease and the development of the following conditions:

-         Alzheimer’s disease

-         Diabetes

-         Heart disease

-         Respiratory disorders such as COPD and pneumonia

-         Stroke

Therefore, it is evident that by choosing to ignore the symptoms of gum disease, you could be putting your overall wellbeing at serious risk.

Symptoms of gum disease

The symptoms of gum disease often begin very mildly, making them very easy to ignore. However, as the irritation continues and the condition worsens, the symptoms tend to intensify and become more serious.

Early symptoms of gum disease

In its earliest stages, some of the most common symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen gums, and bleeding after brushing or flossing your teeth. Your gums may also feel a little tender to the touch.

Advanced symptoms of gum disease

As the condition progresses, you will probably notice further symptoms that indicate the presence of gum disease. These often run concurrently to the early symptoms described above.

Some of the more symptoms that you can expect to experience in the moderate to severe stages of gum disease include:

-         Persistently bad breath

-         Pain when biting or chewing

-         More serious bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth

-         Tooth sensitivity

-         Receding gums or teeth that appear longer than normal

-         Loose/lost teeth

Our dentist will be able to review your symptoms and use this information, along with a comprehensive examination of your teeth, to diagnose if you are suffering from gum disease.

Treating gum disease

Thankfully there are a variety of treatments for gum disease, and which is right for you will depend on the severity of your periodontal disease when you seek professional advice. In the early stages of gum disease, our dentist may recommend you for a professional deep clean. Known as scaling and root planing, this involves scraping off tartar from above and below the gum line. You may also be prescribed antibiotic medication.

In more severe cases of gum disease, surgical intervention may be inevitable. This could include surgery on the periodontal pockets, or bone and soft tissue grafts. Our dentist will be happy to discuss your options with you to help you find the most effective treatment for your individual dental needs.


If you are concerned that you may be suffering from gum disease, or if you would like further advice about the condition, our knowledgeable and experienced team would be delighted to assist you. Please do not hesitate to make contact with our offices at your convenience.