Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can be a “silent” disease because many of the early symptoms are subtle. Here are symptoms of gum disease, progressing generally from mild to severe:

  • Red gums
  • Tender gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Food stuck between gums and teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Tooth loss

Many people can’t tell the color difference between healthy and inflamed gums. They might not know when their gums get swollen. Some people even consider bleeding gums when brushing their teeth to be normal. But it’s not, it’s a symptom of gum disease. If you see blood when you brush your teeth, you need to see Rochester Hills dentist Dr. Wolfe to check on the health of your gums.

Gum Disease Affects Your Overall Health

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. It can lead to receding gums that can make your smile look crooked or unhealthy. It has serious health effects far beyond your mouth. Bacteria can use bleeding gums as a way to enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body, causing infection and other problems. Oral bacteria interfere with your immune system, which can keep it from working as it should. Since the chronic infection keeps your immune system overactive at all times, it contributes to chronic inflammation, which also has serious health consequences.

Due to these different mechanisms, gum disease has been linked to many health problems, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Pneumonia
  • Dementia
  • Cancer

In most cases, the scientific evidence is strong that gum disease can cause or increase the risk of these related conditions. However, for Cancer, the science is still developing. Some studies link gum disease with increased risk for certain cancers. The mechanisms that might link it to cancer (the bacteria can hide cancer cells so the immune system can’t see them). However, science hasn’t established a strong link with overall cancer risk.


The good news is that we can treat it, often ver