Stages of Gum Disease

Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a condition that happens when bacteria causes inflammation of the gums. If not treated, gum disease can become serious and lead to infection and damage to the jaw bone and tissue that surrounds your teeth. Prevention is important, but if you think that you may already be noticing signs of gum disease, you’re probably wondering what to do about it. Here’s what you should know about different stages of gum disease so you’ll know how to recognize the symptoms and what you can do.

Healthy Gums

Healthy gums are firm and pink, not red or puffy. They shouldn’t bleed when you brush or floss your teeth and shouldn’t be tender to touch. Healthy gums are achieved by regular, daily brushing and flossing to keep your teeth and gums clean and free from irritating bacteria and bacteria-containing plaque.


Gingivitis is the earliest of all the stages of gum disease. Early signs of gum disease or gingivitis include swollen or puffy gums, red gums, tenderness or bleeding when you brush or floss, bad breath and a receding gum line at the base of your teeth. Fortunately, gingivitis is treatable, so if you’re noticing any of these symptoms, see a dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist or dental hygienist can professionally clean your teeth and advise you on how to care for your teeth going forward to help heal your gums and prevent further inflammation. Your dentist may prescribe a mouthwash to help fight bacteria and infection while your gums heal.


In the later stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the same symptoms are still present, but are typically more severe. Your teeth may also become loose or shift position and you may experience more discomfort in your teeth and jaw due to damage beneath the surface. Periodontitis is a serious condition, but the good news is that if it is treated early and good oral hygiene is maintained, you can usually stop the damage from progressing further.

When to See a Dentist

If you’re experiencing any possible symptoms of gum disease, you should see a dentist immediately to ensure prompt and proper treatment. It’s also important to schedule regular exams and cleanings with your dentist to help prevent gum disease from starting. The beginning stages of gum disease can sometimes progress unnoticed, but your dentist is experienced in spotting the signs early, and if caught soon enough, the inflammation can often be reversed before it causes damage, keeping your smile healthy and strong.

Call our St. Helena Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

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