How to tell if you have gingivitis

Bleeding and sensitive gums? You may be worried that you have gingivitis. But how do you know if you have gingivitis? In this article we cover all the details about how to tell if you have gingivitis and what to do about it.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease that affects about half of all individuals in the United States. Gingivitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the gums. This bacterial infection is caused by a microbiome imbalance, which is known as oral microbiome dysbiosis.

Gingivitis-causing bacteria are anaerobes, which means they can only survive in the absence of oxygen, which is why they grow so successfully at the gumline. As these bacteria multiply, they form a biofilm, or dental plaque, which protects them from the environment and allows them to grow deep into the pockets between your teeth. As it matures and calcifies, it produces tartar, providing a habitat for more anaerobes to flourish. Bacteria in the plaque, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis and Tannerella forsythia, multiply and create toxic byproducts that worsen gum inflammation.

While early signs such as bleeding and sore gums may be easy to dismiss, gingivitis, if left untreated, can soon advance to periodontal disease, an irreversible stage of gum disease.

How do you know if you have gingivitis?

First, you can look for the following signs and symptoms:

Signs and symptoms

These are some telltale signs that you have gingivitis, especially if you are suffering from multiple symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
  • Gum redness
  • Swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums

Besides these signs, you can also measure the bacteria in your mouth that cause those symptoms by taking an at-home oral microbiome test.

Take an oral microbiome test to measure the bacteria that cause gingivitis

The oral microbiome test from Bristle can help you measure the level of microbiome dysbiosis in your mouth. Oral microbiome dysbiosis can tell you what kind of bacteria are contributing to your gum inflammation or bad breath, which allows for specific treatments that target each pathogen to reduce the level of dysbiosis, and restore health to the microbiome.

Gingivitis is entirely curable with the right regimen!

Finally, you can take a visit to the dentist!

Visit a dentist

A dental visit is a tried and true way to tell if you have gingivitis. A dentist can diagnose if you have gingivitis, and if it has progressed to periodontal disease. A dentist will use

What can you do about gingivitis at home?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to more serious gum disease such as periodontitis (periodontal disease) and tooth loss, which you can no longer fix at home. Gingivitis is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene leading to a buildup of bacteria, but thankfully, it can be reversed with proper treatment that can all be done at home!

You can read more about how to treat gingivitis at home in this article.

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