Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It begins with gum irritation and inflammation. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. Signs of gum disease include bleeding of the gums when brushing and flossing, as well as pain, swelling, and redness of the gums.
As the disease progresses irreversible tissue damage can occur, eventually causing the gums to pull away from the teeth as bacteria flourishes below the gumline. Left untreated, gum disease can form deep pockets of infection, which can cause shifting or loose teeth. It is important to be proactive with periodontal treatment in the earliest stages to avoid severe dental issues later on.