How to Spot the First Signs of Gum Disease

Knowing how to spot the first signs of gum disease can help you get in front of any dental problems, and keep your gums healthy.

Gum disease is a common and serious oral health condition. It causes damage to the soft tissues of the gum and can destroy the bone that support and hold the teeth in place. More than 47% of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, a figure which rises to 70% for people over the age of 65.

Gingivitis refers to an inflammation of the gums which, if left untreated, results in periodontitis. If you are worried that you or someone in your family has gum disease, this blog post is for you.

Here, your expert team at Axiom Dentistry will highlight the first signs of gum disease that you should be aware of and on the look out for. We'll also look at the causes of gum disease, risk factors, treatment options, and more. Let's get started.

How to Spot the First Signs of Gum Disease

One of the most visible signs of gum disease early on is red and swollen gums. This is a clear sign that your gums need attention from a dental professional.

Typically, gum disease starts with inflammation along the gum line, which can be painful and tender. People may experience bleeding, especially when they brush and floss.

Another sign of gum disease is bad breath. The more plaque that a person has in their mouth, the more bacteria there will be, too. Bacteria release toxins that have a foul smell (as well as irritating the teeth and gums).

Receding gums are another possible sign of gum disease, as are shifting or wiggly teeth. Gum disease can be diagnosed during a routine dental exam, by probing for inflammation, measuring pockets around the teeth, and ordering x-rays that check for bone loss.

What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Risk factors for gum disease include:

Plaque buildup is a common cause of gum disease. Plaque is a thick film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. Daily brushing and flossing help to remove this, though it can still build up over time, particularly if a person's oral healthcare routine is not up to scratch.

Nutritional deficiencies are another possible cause, particularly a deficiency of vitamin C. A diet that is low in vitamin C and water, while being high in carbohydrates and sugar, is more likely to lead to gum disease.

If you are experiencing any of the above-listed early signs of gum disease, it is important that you schedule a dental appointment. The sooner gum disease is treated, the less the overall risk to the person's teeth, gums, and bone tissue.

How to Treat Gum Disease?

The goal here is to control the infection. For this, good oral hygiene is essential to treating gum disease. This may include enhancing your daily oral healthcare routine and cutting back on smoking (if applicable).

Other ways to treat gum disease include deep cleaning, medications, and surgery. Let's take a look at each of these in turn.

Cleaning Teeth

Dental techniques such as scaling and root planing can effectively remove tartar and plaque, preventing gum irritation. Scaling is the process of removing tartar from below and above the gum line, while root planing smooths rough spots and removes both tartar and plaque from the root surface.


There are a number of medications available that can be used to treat gum disease. These include oral antibiotics, antiseptic mouthwash, doxycycline, timed-release antiseptic chips, and antibiotic microspheres.


If cases where gum disease is severe (for example, if it has caused any gum or bone tissue loss), surgery may be required. A periodontist is able to perform a number of different types of gum surgery, depending on the exact nature of the case.

One option is flap surgery. This is a procedure when the gums are lifted back so that tartar and plaque can be removed. Once this has been performed, the gums are sutured in place.

Bone and tissue grafts are another option; they can be performed when the jaw and teeth are too damaged to heal properly. A gum graft surgery takes tissue from the roof of a person's mouth and uses it to cover the exposed tooth root, which helps to prevent further gum and bone loss.

How to Prevent Gum Disease?

Some tips for preventing gum disease include:

Our team will be happy to make recommendations on how you can improve your overall oral health and reduce your risk of gum disease.

Early Signs of Gum Disease to Be Aware Of

To conclude, the early signs of gum disease include red and swollen gums, bad breath, bleeding while brushing and flossing, plaque buildup, receding gums, and shifting teeth. If you are concerned about the first signs of gum disease, it is important that you schedule an appointment with an experienced and professional dental clinic.

In the Raleigh area of North Carolina, your premier choice is always Axiom Dentistry. For more than 20 years, we have been providing the highest level of care to patients and now boast 7 convenient locations to choose from.

For effective treatment of gum disease, schedule an appointment with our team today. We look forward to speaking with you.

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