Gum disease, also known as periodontitis or gingivitis, is when bacteria from dental plaque begins to affect the gums. While some people are more prone to gum disease due to genetics, smoking, diabetes, hormonal changes, and medication can also lead to gum disease. Gum infection symptoms typically shows up in men and women in the age of 30 or 40, and men are more prone to gum disease than women.

Please note that the facts contained in this article are not definitive; dentist or medical care providers should be consulted for any concerns or for serious cases.

gum infection picture

Gum infection symptoms require immediate care to prevent further damage; the following are common symptoms of gum disease:

Six Symptoms of Gum Disease


Gum disease displays varying degrees of pain; at times even no pain may be present. When pain is present, there is severe pain during chewing and drinking as well as other time. Gums become painful to the touch; when a tooth makes contact with any object a swelling pain may occur. Pain may also increase when an individual lies down, and cold and hot foods are often unbearable to consume. Some individuals may also experience pain behind the cheekbones due to the bacteria from the infected gums seeping in the sinuses.

Swollen or Dark Gums

Healthy gums are a pale pink with no sagging; infected gums are dark, have a dusky shade, or have a purplish tint.

Fever and Swollen Lymph Nodes

Infected gums wear down the body as in every infection present in the body; infected gums can cause a general feeling of illness and fatigue, and a fever as well as swollen lymph nodes can become present.

Bad Breath

Infected gums cause a sour or otherwise unpleasant taste in the mouth, and bad smelling breath is often present.


There is no circumstance that it is healthy for gums to bleed, even when the teeth are being cleaned by a dentist. When plaque accumulates on the gum line, bleeding begins to occur. This irritation causes inflammation and infection which leads to more severe bleeding as the infection worsens.

Receding Gums

Gum infection can cause gum tissue to pull away from its initial position and begin to expose tooth roots.

Shifting and Loose Teeth

As the gums become more infected, the gum lose their ability to support the teeth. In turn, the teeth may begin to become loose and the bite may also begin to shift.

Disease Complications

Gum infection leads to damaged teeth as well as the soft tissue that builds a tooth’s foundation. Complication can then occur including the life-threatening Ludwig’s angina, that causes difficulty breathing and severe pain in the neck and tongue as well as osteomyelitis, which is a bone infection that causes nausea, fever, and severe pain.

Necrotising periodontal disease is a rare complication of a gum infection that causes dead gum tissue and ulceration. This condition can appear in the gums, tissue around the teeth, and bone loss that spreads past gum and tissue around the teeth. Severe conditions such as chain smoking, malnutrition, severe stress (physical and psychological), immune deficiency diseases, and malnutrition are causes related to this complication, and fungi, bacteria, and viruses are present when this condition develops.

Gum infection is not just regulated to oral issues. The infection in the gums can cause spread throughout the body and into vital organs by entering the bloodstream. Gum infection symptoms left untreated can also cause the following serious complications:

  • Premature childbirth;
  • Coronary heart disease;
  • Loss of one or more teeth;
  • Stroke;
  • Respiratory issues;
  • Asthma;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Adverse diabetes symptoms.

Actions for Gum Infection Symptoms

Once these symptoms appear, a visit to the dentist or medical health care provider is required immediately to prevent further damage. Once visited, the following procedures are taken to treat gum infection:

The dentist will inquire about any underlying circumstances that could be related to the gum infection symptoms such as medical conditions, smoking, or other risk factors. The dentist will then examine the gums to analyze the actual infection. A ruler called a dental probe is then used to measure any pockets between the teeth and gums to determine if there are any unhealthy gaps. A gap between 1 and 3 millimeters between the teeth is considered healthy. An x-ray may be necessary at times, and an individual may be referred to a periodontist in cases of severe infection.

Once an infection is determined, there are various treatments used to subdue the infections. These treatments include:

  • A deep cleaning involving root planing and scaling;
  • Medications such as a prescription mouth rinse and an antibiotic gel;
  • Surgical treatments.

There are also homeopathic treatments such as taking active measures to reduce stress, regularly rinsing the mouth with a sea salt and warm water solution, placing tea bags on the gums, regularly drinking cranberry juice, and increasing vitamin intake with supplements.

Preventative measures for gum infection include brushing teeth after meals, flossing nightly and using mouthwash, and understanding the heightened risk for gum infection.

illustration of teeth

Summing Up

Gum infection symptoms can range from undetectable to life threatening. If any signs point to the development of gum infection, it is important to consult a dentist or medical care provider immediately to prevent unnecessary damage to the body. If you or a loved one has experienced any of these symptoms, share with us how you dealt with the symptoms and what remedies were tried or administered to reduce this condition!

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