Gingivitis Symptoms

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

The early stages of gingivitis or gum disease may go unnoticed as there may be no symptoms of the condition.

However, it is vital to be able to detect gingivitis when it is in the early stages so that early treatment can be initiated to increase the chance of full recovery and decrease the risk of recurrence.

Healthy gums should appear pink, firm and attached to the lower ends of the teeth which they are holding in place.

There should be no bleeding when the teeth are brushed normally.

Symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Gums that are painful, especially to touch
  • Gums that bleed on brushing or flossing
  • Gums that have peeled or recessed at the lower ends of the teeth
  • A bitter or unpleasant taste in the mouth due to discharge from bacteria within the mouth
  • Bad breath caused by gases given off by bacteria
  • The presence of hardened plaque called tartar, visible as grey or brown discolorations across the teeth
  • Loosened teeth caused by gums receding at the lower ends of the teeth that may be causing difficulty in eating. If the ginigivitis has progressed enough, there may even be tooth loss
  • Excessive salivation
  • Difficulty on speaking, eating or chewing due to pain
  • Gum abscesses filled with pus that may be swollen and painful
  • Swollen gums and painful ulcers - a condition called "trench mouth"
  • Acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis - a rare and more severe form of gingivitis that leads to bleeding, painful, receding gums and ulcers along with difficulty in swallowing or chewing.
  • Other disease features include a metallic taste in the mouth and severe bad breath or halitosis.

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2013

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