If you think you're too busy to go to the dentist, you need to think again. Avoiding the dentist is one of the worst things you can do, even if you think your teeth are in good shape. You might not realize this, but even if you're not experiencing pain, you could still have dental problems that you're not aware of. Some of those hidden dental problems could lead to serious complications, including tooth loss. Gum disease is one of those complications that you could be suffering from, and not even know it. However, there are some tell-tale signs you can look for. If you see any of these signs, you need to contact a dentist immediately. With proper care, you can avoid permanent tooth loss.
Watch for Blood
One of the first signs you should look for is blood, especially when you brush or floss. However, you may also notice blood when you eat things like corn on the cob. The blood occurs because the gums are infected. You may start out with just a small amount of blood in the sink, or on your toothbrush. However, as the disease progresses, you may begin to see more significant amounts of blood around your gums.
Look at Your Gums
In addition to the blood, your gums may also become red and swollen, especially as the infection gets worse. Look at your gums, especially around your teeth. If your gums are red and swollen, or they look like they're shrinking away from your teeth – which means your gums are receding – you're probably looking at advanced stages of gum disease.
Inspect Your Dental Floss
When you floss your teeth, you probably just toss the floss in the trash can and forget about it. However, if you've got gum disease, the evidence might be hiding on your dental floss. You see, during the advanced stages of gum disease, pockets develop around the roots of your teeth. Those pockets fill with bacteria-filled pus. When you floss your teeth, some of that pus may come out from the pockets. The next time you floss your teeth, look at the floss before you toss it in the trash. If it's covered in yellow to green, foul-smelling pus, it's time to get to the dentist. Speaking of foul-smelling, if your breath has started smelling particularly foul, even with proper brushing and flossing, that could be another sign that you're dealing with gum disease.
Don't ignore the signs. If you're experiencing any of the signs described here, you need to have your dentist examine your mouth for gum disease.