3 Signs You May Have Gum Disease

Drawing of a boy with gum disease because of inflamed, bleeding, irritated gums

Gum disease is a common oral health issue that affects millions of Americans. If mild gum disease, called gingivitis, is left untreated, it can develop into a serious infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause irreversible damage and loss of your teeth and gums, as well as the bone beneath your gums. To properly care for your mouth, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of gum disease. If detected early, you can take steps to reverse mild gum disease.

  1. Bleeding Gums
  2. If you notice blood in the sink after your brush or floss your teeth, this is usually a sign of gum disease. Keep in mind that bleeding gums can occur more in times of hormonal fluctuations such as adolescence, pregnancy, and menopause because the gums are more sensitive to plaque. If you have bleeding gums, don’t stop brushing or flossing. In fact, the better you stay on top of your dental hygiene routine, the quicker the health of your gums will improve.

  3. Receding Gums
  4. When the gum tissue begins to recede, it leaves your teeth exposed to infection and decay. Teeth clenching, genetics, and aggressive brushing can contribute to gum recession, though a common culprit is poor oral hygiene. As bacteria build up along your gumline, your gums become irritated and begin to pull away from the teeth.

  5. Irritated, Inflamed, or Red Gums
  6. If you notice your gums are abnormally red, this could be a sign of gum disease. Gums should be a light pink shade. It is also abnormal for gums to be inflamed, swollen, or tender.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Maintaining great oral health habits is the best way to preventing gum disease:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Regularly rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Consume a balanced diet
  • Reduce your intake of refined and added sugar
  • Drink more water
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Only chew sugar-free gum

In addition to at-home oral healthcare, visit our Santa Teresa dental office for regular checkups and cleanings. Our team wants you to have the healthiest smile possible. At your routine checkups, we will let you know if your gum health could be improved and the specific steps to do so. For example, we may recommend improved oral hygiene, special oral hygiene products, and/or periodontal therapy to help your gums heal.

Contact Santa Teresa Smiles, your dentist in Santa Teresa, NM, if you have any questions about gum disease or if you’re ready to schedule your next appointment.


Photo by Authority Dental under CC 2.0