Recognizing and Reversing the Early Signs of Gum Disease

Nov 02, 2023
Recognizing and Reversing the Early Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease is extremely common, affecting millions of people and dramatically increasing your risks of tooth loss. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reverse that process. Here’s what to look for and what to do.

About half of American adults over age 29 have some stage of gum disease, a leading cause of adult tooth loss. Fortunately, gum disease can be treated — and even reversed — if you know what signs to look for.

At Dental Studio of Pasadena, our team uses advanced techniques to diagnose and treat gum disease in every stage, helping patients in Pasadena, California, maintain their beautiful, healthy smiles. In this post, learn how to recognize, reverse, and even prevent gum disease.

Early signs of gum disease

Gum disease happens when bacteria found in sticky plaque deposits collect around your gum line and begin to multiply. As the bacteria grow, they release toxins that irritate your gums, causing them to separate from the surfaces of your teeth. 


These tiny separations create pockets that allow the bacteria to migrate farther down the teeth all the way to the tooth roots. Over time, the infection weakens and loosens your teeth, eventually causing tooth loss. 

These serious effects occur in the last stage of gum disease. In the early stages, the signs are much more subtle.

Gum redness

Healthy gums are pink, but if you have gum disease, irritation inside your gums can cause them to redden. 

Tender or swollen gums

Irritation and inflammation inside your gums can make them tender. You might notice tenderness when eating crunchy or chewy foods or brushing and flossing. Your gums can swell, too, from inflammation inside the tissue.

Bleeding gums

Bleeding gums are another early, common indicator of gum disease. Sometimes, tenderness accompanies bleeding, but you can have bleeding gums without pain or swelling. Most often, bleeding happens when you brush or floss, and you might notice pink or red in your sink when you swish and spit.

Chronic bad breath

Those toxins produced by the bacteria that cause gum disease don’t just irritate your gums. They release noxious odors, too. If you have gum disease, it’s not uncommon to have bad breath that won’t stay away, even with careful brushing and flossing.

Tooth sensitivity

As your gums pull away from the tooth surfaces, more of the lower part of the tooth is exposed. Over time, this can lead to extra sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures or sweet foods.

What to do about gum disease

If you have any signs of early gum disease, the first step should be to call our office to schedule a checkup and cleaning. Our team will carefully remove plaque and hard tartar deposits that contain disease-causing bacteria.

At home, it’s important to ensure you’re brushing and flossing correctly. You can find brushing tips here and flossing tips here. During your visit, we also give you pointers and identify specific areas where your current routine falls short.

If you use tobacco products, it’s vitally important that you stop. Smoking interferes with circulation, making it easier for gum infections to occur. You should also limit sweet foods and focus on eating a healthy diet to support gum health so your gums can fight off infections.

We might suggest special deep-cleaning methods called root planing and scaling for more advanced gum disease. These treatments reach below the gum line to eliminate bacterial infections and make it harder for bacteria to cling to the tooth surfaces in the future.

Keep your gums healthy

Early symptoms of gum disease are often very subtle, and without treatment, they can advance to more serious stages pretty quickly. Having dental checkups every six months is one of the best ways to prevent gum disease from progressing and even reverse current symptoms.

To find out if you have gum disease and learn how we can help keep your gums (and teeth) healthy, call 626-329-4658 or request an appointment online with the Dental Studio of Pasadena team today.