In part one of this blog series, we discussed some of the main causes of gum disease (also referred to as periodontitis or periodontal disease), including poor oral hygiene, a sugar-filled diet, alcohol consumption, and smoking cigarettes. At Trillium Dental in Ottawa, we regularly treat patients who are suffering from gingivitis and periodontal disease, which is why we are dedicating this post to helping you recognize the symptoms and risks of gum disease so you can catch it before it progresses into a life-threatening illness. That being said, here are some of the main signs of gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease.


While there are many painful symptoms of gum disease, not all of them are apparent during its onset, otherwise known as gingivitis. During the routine teeth cleanings at your local dental clinic, the dental hygienist will remove any plaque and tartar buildup in what we call a “tooth scaling” or “root planing” procedure. This painless dental treatment helps us identify whether you are experiencing any tooth decay or gum inflammation due to early-stage gum disease, whether you’ve noticed it yet or not. Oftentimes, patients don’t even know they have tartar buildup along the gumline until they visit us for a general dentistry appointment, while others will notice beforehand due to these common signs and symptoms of gingivitis:

  • Gum recession
  • Gum inflammation
  • Red, tender gums
  • Bleeding gums (especially when you floss and brush your teeth)
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Perpetual bad breath

Aside from maintaining good oral hygiene habits and making regular trips to your family dental clinic, being aware of the signs and symptoms of gingivitis is the first step in gum disease prevention. There are a number of serious health risks associated with periodontitis, and many of these are preventable with early periodontal treatments, such as root planing, gum lasering, gingival grafts, gingivectomies, and crown lengthening procedures. However, the effectiveness of these gum disease treatments depends on how early you catch the disease before it progresses and becomes less treatable.


If you have a gum infection or disease like periodontitis and the gum tissue is punctured or bleeds spontaneously (as is often the case in patients with gingivitis), the bacteria gains direct access to the rest of your vascular system via the bloodstream. This greatly increases your risk of having a stroke, in addition to the following health conditions:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Pancreatic cancer

Victims of periodontal disease are also at a greater risk of having preterm or low-birthweight babies, as the bacteria can cause an increase in inflammation throughout the body. This is because the inflammation caused by gum disease puts excessive stress on your body’s vital organs, in addition to spreading the disease through the vascular system, which can wreak havoc on your body.


Our dentists and dental hygienists at Trillium Dental firmly believe that the key to gum disease prevention is practicing good oral hygiene habits and making regular trips to the dentist for professional dental cleanings. Contact us today to learn about our gum disease treatments and general dentistry procedures, or book your appointment with us online.