Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gum tissue. It begins when the bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed. If left untreated, it can lead to receding gums, loose teeth, and even tooth loss.

Here are some of the common symptoms of gum disease:

Bleeding Gums

If you notice your gums bleeding regularly, it may be a sign of gum disease. Healthy gums should not bleed when brushing or flossing. However, gums will sometimes begin to recede in people that have advanced cases of gum disease. Receding gums will leave the roots of the teeth exposed, which can make your teeth more sensitive, and can also get worse over time. A dentist will be able to diagnose the cause of your bleeding gums and recommend an appropriate treatment to restore your oral health.

Swollen Gums

One of the most common symptoms of gum disease is swollen or puffy gum tissues. Many people notice this when they are brushing their teeth and notice that their gums look larger than normal or even redder than usual. This can occur in isolated spots along the gum line, or it can affect the entire mouth at the same time. It’s also possible to have sore or tender gums without any other signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease. This could be a sign that your gums are inflamed due to plaque buildup, but the problem isn’t severe enough to cause any other symptoms at this time. However, it’s important to monitor these signs closely because damaged gum tissue can progress to serious periodontal disease if left untreated. If you notice any swelling in the gums, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Bad Breath

Halitosis, or bad breath, is an early indicator of gum disease. When plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth, the bacteria will emit foul odors from the mouth. In advanced stages of periodontitis, patients may experience chronic bad breath from gum recession. The gum tissue pulls away from the teeth and causes pockets to form between the teeth and gums. Bacteria in these pockets will eventually work their way into the oral cavity and cause unpleasant odors.

Loose Teeth

Patients may experience loose teeth as a result of gum disease. Bacteria can spread from the gums to the periodontal ligaments, which hold the tooth in place. When the bacteria destroy the periodontal ligament fibers, the ligaments cannot support the teeth, and the teeth are loosened – this is known as periodontal disease. The condition can be mild to severe, and treatment should be sought immediately to prevent further damage. In some cases, the dentist may recommend extracting the affected tooth to prevent the damage from spreading to other teeth.


Schedule an appointment with Dr. Angela An, D.D.S. General Dentistry, to learn more about maintaining good oral health. We are located at 490 Post St #1020, San Francisco, CA 94102. Contact us at (415) 291-8668 or visit our website for more information. 

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