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Gum Disease

Gum disease, more formally known as either gingivitis or periodontitis, is an infection that harms the soft tissue of the gums. If left untreated, gum disease can ultimately damage the bone that supports your teeth, leading to loosened teeth and tooth loss. In some instances, bone grafting is necessary to help restore the jawbone following severe periodontal disease.

Several signs can point to the presence of gum disease in a patient. Let’s look at the differences between healthy gums and those with gum disease.

Signs of Healthy Gums

Ideally, your gums are healthy and show no signs of periodontal complications or gum disease. Healthy gums will display qualities like:

  • Pale pink in color
  • Firm to the touch
  • Strong against brushing and flossing (no bleeding)
  • Snuggly attached to the teeth

Signs of Gum Disease

You probably don’t think much about your gums when they’re healthy. However, when they are causing pain or drawing attention to themselves, you’re likely to wonder if you’re suffering from gum disease.

Signs of gum disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that have receded away from the teeth
  • Loosened teeth
  • Pain when eating
  • Red, dark red, or purple gums
  • Swelling at the gum line
  • Tender, painful gums

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

The signs and symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis are similar because they are both forms of gum disease.


Gingivitis develops first in the beginning stages of gum disease. At this stage, a patient will experience:

  • Bleeding during brushing or flossing
  • Darkening of the gums
  • Swollen, puffy gums
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth


When gum disease progresses beyond gingivitis and worsens, it reaches periodontitis and causes symptoms like:

  • Access space between teeth
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Loosening teeth
  • Pain in the gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth loss

How to Prevent Gum Disease

To help protect yourself against the development of gum disease, be sure to practice good oral hygiene:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss regularly, ideally once each day
  • Schedule routine visits with your dentist

Talk to Athens Oral Surgery Center if you have suffered jawbone damage because of gum disease.

Dr. Tomlinson can resolve more severe aftereffects of gum disease through solutions like bone grafting. Schedule an appointment with our team to discuss how we can help restore your maxillofacial health following gum disease. 706-549-5033