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Inflammation of the gums is called gingivitis. This is the first stage of gum disease (or periodontal disease), and can be reversed to health with good oral habits. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis are red, puffy gums that may bleed when brushing and flossing, tender gums, and bad breath. This is caused by a lack of sufficient oral hygiene, tobacco use, and sometimes a sign of hormonal changes and other systemic health issues. Because gum disease may not have any symptoms, it is important brush and floss your teeth, eat a nutritious diet, and have a dental checkup at least every 6 months.