Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. If your gums are puffy, dusky red and bleed easily, you may have gingivitis. Because gingivitis is seldom painful, you can have gingivitis without even knowing it.
Signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Swollen gums
- Soft, puffy gums
- Receding gums
- Occasionally, tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss, sometimes seen as redness or pinkness on your brush or floss
- A change in the color of your gums from a healthy pink to dusky red
- Bad breath
When to see a dentist
Most dentists recommend regular checkups to identify gingivitis, cavities (caries) and other dental conditions before they cause troubling symptoms and lead to more serious problems. If you notice any signs and symptoms of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist. The sooner you seek care, the better your chances of reversing damage from gingivitis and preventing its progression to periodontitis.
Jan. 22, 2014
- Gingivitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental_disorders/periodontal_disorders/gingivitis.html. Accessed June 24, 2013.
- Wilder RS, et al. Gingivitis and periodontitis in adults: Classification and dental treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 24, 2013.
- Gingivitis. American Academy of Periodontology. http://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html. Accessed June 24, 2013.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2013: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-08373-7..00002-9&isbn=978-0-323-08373-7&about=true&uniqId=343863096-23. Accessed June 25, 2013.
- Kawar N, et al. Periodontal disease for the primary care physician. Disease-a-Month. 2011;57:174.
- Darby I. Non-surgical management of periodontal disease. Australian Dental Journal 2009;54(suppl):S86.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 14, 2013.
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