Gingivitis is something that can sneak up on you if you’re not paying attention. It develops gradually over time, usually due to a build up of bacteria and plaque along the gum line. If you don’t want to find yourself getting a lecture from your dentist at your next visit, keep an eye out for the following warning signs.

Bleeding When You Brush or Floss

Your gums can become quite sensitive when they are inflamed with a build up of plaque. When you brush or floss, these inflamed areas can actually start bleeding because the gum line has become weak due to the bacteria that is literally feeding on it. If you taste blood after brushing, start using a fluoride rinse to help combat the inflammation. If the bleeding is especially bad, call your dentist immediately.

Receding Gums

Go to the mirror in your bathroom and take a close up look at your gums. Can you see a little bit more of your teeth in certain spots than in others? A particularly toothy grin could be a sign that the gum line is receding due to gingivitis. Think back to those pictures you may have seen on your dentist’s wall of a patient with gingivitis or periodontal disease. Can you see this process beginning in your own mouth? Step up your oral care routine and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

Bad Breath

This one might be hard to figure out unless you have someone who is honest enough to tell you about the problem. Everyone suffers from bad breath every once in a while, but if it seems like you constantly have this problem, it could be because you are developing gingivitis. If you haven’t been taking care of your mouth, that chronic presence of bacteria along the gum line could be causing a constant foul odor. Simply rinsing with a mouthwash will not solve the problem. You need to maintain a regular oral care routine to completely eradicate all of the bacteria and plaque along your gum line before the foul stench will go away.

Gingivitis is often a disease that people don’t realize they are developing until it’s too late. But there are some warning signs to watch out for to help you fight back. If you easily bleed when brushing or flossing, or you notice that your teeth appear longer than normal because you can see more of them, these are both warning signs that you may be developing gingivitis. Having bad breath doesn’t always mean you have gum disease, but if you find the problem keeps coming back even after you rinse your mouth out, you might have a larger problem on your hands. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately.