How to Know You Have Gingivitis So You Can Stop Tissue Destruction Before It Starts

By the time you have inflamed gums and loose teeth, it is really late to stop the ravages of untreated gingivitis. But if you see your dentist at the first sign of gum infection, treatment might be as simple as a thorough cleaning of plaque off your teeth. Here are five tell-tale signs of untreated gum infection that are a strong early warning signal you need to make a dental appointment in the near future.

Three of the signs are related to bleeding from the gums.

  1. Bleeding when you brush or floss.

    This is the most common early warning signal of infection in the gums. If you have painless bleeding during your daily dental hygiene, then you probably have pockets of infection in your gums that only can be found by poking and probing at the dentist’s office. You can’t detect this kind of infection at home.

    It’s also possible, however, that you are using a toothbrush that is too hard or that you are brushing your gums too vigorously. Brush teeth, not gums. It’s the food particles on your teeth that fuel gum infection, not food particles on your gums. A gentle massage of your gums with a soft toothbrush is OK, unless it causes pain or bleeding.

  2. Bleeding when you eat foods with edges, such as bread or crackers.

    Sharp edges on crusts of baked goods are also a common cause of bleeding when you have gum disease. The solution isn’t to stop eating crusty bread and crackers. The solution is getting your teeth cleaned.

  3. signs-of-gum-infection

  4. Bleeding from the margins of your gums for no particular reason at all.

    This is a sign of a more advanced kind of gum disease requiring more urgent treatment.

    Halitosis, along with a bitter taste in your mouth, is also a sign of gingivitis or other gum diseases.

  5. Bad breath you can’t cover up with mouthwash.

    If you have bad breath and red, inflamed patches on your gums, you are in the acute phase of gingivitis. You need dental treatment in the next few weeks. Your bad breath will probably go away before you get to the dentist, but you still need to have the infection removed.

    If you have bad breath and black, cone-shaped patches on your gums, you may have necrotizing ulcerating periodontitis, a much more serious kind of infection of the gums that quickly progresses to the bone. This is something you should see your dentist about right away, the same day you notice the symptoms, if possible.

  6. A bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, especially when you wake up in the morning.

    Blood leaves a bitter, metallic taste in your mouth. If you bitter taste in the mouth is worse in the morning and does not bother you any other time of day, you probably have mild bleeding from your gums caused by gingivitis. See your dentist right away, and in the meantime, try mouthwashes that fight gingivitis to slow down the infection.

Don’t forget to tell your dentist about all your medications, especially blood thinners and birth control pills. Medications for seizures, excessive urination, glaucoma, and cancer can also affect oral health. And if you have any food allergies, try to see if eating a particular food is what is making bleeding worse. Inflammation in your mouth and gums after eating an allergenic food is especially easy to avoid.