Early Signs of Gum Disease & What You Can Do to Prevent It

Early Signs of Gum Disease & What You Can Do to Prevent It

Post Date: Jun 14, 2023

Our mouths are really good at growing bacteria. When we eat sugary or starchy foods, it feeds the bacteria already living in our mouths. This forms a film on teeth called plaque. Without proper diet, oral hygiene, and regular teeth cleanings at the dentist, that plaque can form a hard coating called tartar. That can lead to inflammation and infection in the gums, known as gum disease or periodontitis. This generally preventable disease can lead to tooth loss if it goes untreated.

The key is prevention. And if that’s not possible, you want to catch it early. Here are the signs to look for to spot gum disease and how to stop it in the first place.

Symptoms to watch for

Bad breath that won’t go away

If you notice that your breath always smells bad, even when you’re brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water, that might be an early sign of gum disease to discuss with a dentist.

Red or swollen gums

Redness and swelling are common signs of infection, and gum disease is an infection. Healthy gums are generally pink and firm to the touch. You should visit your dentist if your gums are deep red and puffy.

Bleeding gums

If you see your gums bleeding, your toothbrush comes away pink after you brush, you notice blood in your spit, or your gums start to bleed as you floss, it’s a sign to check in with your dentist.

Gums that feel tender

Even general soreness and tenderness in your gums can be an early sign of periodontitis. Be alert to this symptom, and talk to your dentist about it if it’s something you’re noticing in your mouth.


Regular brushing

The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice each day, once in the morning and once at night. Take at least two minutes to brush, and focus some time brushing gently along your gum line. This can help remove plaque buildup, which can damage your gums the most.

Daily flossing

Flossing once a day can help remove those tricky food particles in between your teeth that the bacteria thrive on. It can also give you a chance to scrape away plaque along your gums and the edges of each tooth. When you floss, take the floss all the way up under your gum line, gently scraping each side of your tooth along the way.

Think about your diet

It’s a myth that sugar rots your teeth. Instead, the sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, forming plaque that can turn into tartar. But even with diligent brushing, it can help the health of your mouth if you limit your intake of those foods high in sugar and carbs. Go easy on foods bacteria love, like processed sugar, while making room in your diet for nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.

See your dentist regularly

Going in for regular cleanings and check-ins is an important step to prevent gum disease. Professional cleanings can remove the hard buildup of tartar around your gum line that brushing and flossing at home can’t. And getting advice from a professional can help you stay on top of your oral hygiene to spot and treat gum disease early.

You can make an appointment at one of CHP’s dental clinics in Bozeman or Livingston. Or take advantage of the morning walk-in clinic for emergency needs. Oral health is a huge part of your overall health and wellness, so taking care of your mouth is important.