Did you know that there’s 3 stages of gum disease?

Many have heard of gum disease but most aren’t aware there’s different stages to it!

Like many diseases out there, gum disease can be mild to severe. What symptoms you’re experiencing can give our Tampa Bay periodontists an idea of what stage you may be experiencing.

Let’s learn about the 3 stages of gum disease together!

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Most are familiar with this stage of gum disease. Sore swollen gums or gums that bleed when you brush your teeth are the most common signs that gingivitis is starting. In fact, you may have experienced it at some point yourself! Recent studies found that 50% of adults have gingivitis on 3 or 4 teeth. If you’ve been practicing or experienced any of the following causes or symptoms, there’s a good chance you may have gingivitis:


  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or vaping
  • Poor nutrition (low vitamin C)
  • Hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy


  • Bright red gums
  • Sore or tender gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing (for more than 5 consecutive days)

So how do I get rid of gingivitis ASAP? You’ll be happy to know that stage 1 gum disease is entirely reversible! By practicing proper oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing, and attending regular dental cleanings, you can keep your gums free of the irritating bacteria that are responsible for this early gum disease.

(It’s important to talk to your dentist about any gum or oral health concerns you may have or see a gum specialist if you’re a high-risk for developing gum disease).

Stage 2: Periodontitis

With gingivitis, there’s plaque buildup and irritation to your gum tissues. If left untreated like many diseases, it will progress…into stage 2 gum disease, or periodontitis.

Here’s a brief overview of what can cause periodontitis:


  • All the causes of gingivitis
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged use of medications such as antipsychotics, anti-histamines, or tetracycline
  • Substance abuse

What does stage 2 gum disease look like?

Periodontitis can cause serious gum damage before the infection progresses to your jawbones, it can be described like this:

  • Gums pulling away and detaching away from your teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose or wiggly teeth
  • Painful, sensitive gums

Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis is the third and final stage of gum disease. It requires many different procedures to counteract and repair the damage done to your gums, tooth roots, supporting bones, and possibly jawbone.


  • All the causes of gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Progressed periodontitis
  • Not seeking periodontal treatment or not attending regular periodontal maintenance appointments

What does stage 3 gum disease look like?

In this stage, periodontal pockets (where your gums pull away from your teeth and bacteria collects) grow larger and infect more supporting bones – even down to your jawbone! Advanced periodontitis is incredibly painful and there’s no doubt that something is not right with your oral health. You’ll experience all the above symptoms from stage 1 and 2 and the following:

  • Severe toothaches
  • Teeth falling out
  • Gum recession to the point of tooth root exposure

So can stage 3 gum disease be reversed?

Unfortunately no, advanced periodontitis cannot be reversed, BUT the progression of your gum infection can be stopped. With regular cleanings and a comprehensive treatment plan, our team of Board-Certified periodontists can help stop your gum disease in its tracks!

What is the fastest way to heal a gum infection?

A gum infection like gum disease can be “healed” or reversed in the early stages. As for a gum infection like periodontitis or advanced periodontitis where the infection has advanced beyond the gums, can be treated with prompt and regular periodontal care. But as part of your continued periodontal care outside of our offices, it’s important for you to practice these two habits:

  • Regularly visit your dentist too! While you may receive a deep teeth cleaning from your periodontist every 3 to 4 months, dental cleanings from your family dentist are still necessary as well.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once is key to removing plaque and food debris that will further irritate your gums.

Still have more questions about the stages of gum disease?

Do you suspect you have gum disease? Schedule an exam with our gum health specialists today!

We’d love to help you achieve the best possible gum health and would be delighted to meet with you in Tampa or New Port Richey/Trinity!

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