A person with gingivitis will typically have red, swollen gums that bleed very easily. A bad mouth odor or taste may develop. There could be white spots or plaques on the gums. The person may develop receding gums or areas where the root of the tooth becomes uncovered by the shrinking, diseased gums. Deep pockets may develop around the teeth that trap food, plaque, and debris. If gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, the person may lose gum tissue or bone around the teeth and the teeth may become loose or fall out. These changes an develop very slowly, or may progress rapidly in certain teeth or the entire mouth.
It is possible to have gingivitis and not notice any signs or symptoms, so regular visits to the dentist are vital in diagnosing the disease and taking steps in curing or reversing gum disease.