The condition of your teeth, gums, tongue, and even your breath provide valuable insight into your dental health and your physical health. All too often, however, people ignore the clues that are given to them every day in the form of various oral symptoms. For virtually all oral health concerns, early detection and treatment is key. Ignoring symptoms or avoiding treatment can lead to more serious concerns– for both your oral health and your overall health. So, it’s time to start paying attention to what your mouth is trying to tell you about your health.
Clue 1: Your gums are sore and inflamed.
If you’ve been struggling with gums that are inflamed, red, and uncomfortable, your body is trying to let you know that you likely have periodontal disease. One of the primary symptoms of periodontal disease– also known as gum disease– is inflamed, puffy gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. When detected in its earliest stage– known as gingivitis– gum disease is reversible. If you ignore what your gums are trying to tell you, however, your gum disease can progress to periodontitis– which can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Clue 2: Your teeth are sensitive.
Maybe you wince every time you take a sip of an ice-cold drink. Or perhaps your morning cup of coffee has begun to make your teeth uncomfortable. What message is your mouth trying to convey to you? There are a variety of causes of tooth sensitivity, ranging from an exposed tooth root to worn-out enamel or even bruxism. Only your dentist can determine what exactly is causing your sensitivity. Commonly, however, sensitivity to heat is due to an infection in the pulp of the tooth. Cold sensitivity, on the other hand, might be related to inflamed pulp, tooth grinding, decay, or restoration. It’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible when you’re experiencing sensitivity so the cause can be determined and treated accordingly.
Clue 3: You have a sore jaw.
If your jaw is sore or painful, your body is trying to relay a message to you. Maybe your jaw pain is also accompanied by difficulty chewing or your jaw is popping and locking up. These are all clues that you’re likely suffering from a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD is the term used to describe a variety of disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Injury and rheumatoid arthritis can lead to TMD, but stress is often a major factor. Don’t resign yourself to a life of living with jaw pain; visit your dentist to discuss treatment options.
Clue 4: You have sores or patches in your mouth.
Sores, lumps, or patches in the mouth or on the tongue are your body’s way of telling you that a serious problem might be developing. In fact, sores, lumps, and patches can be indicative of oral cancers. Other symptoms to look out for include difficulty swallowing, numbness in the mouth, or even changes in taste. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s imperative to visit your dentist right away.
Clue 5: Your breath stinks.
Bad breath– otherwise known as halitosis– is also a way your body communicates with you. What could it be telling you? Commonly, bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene. So, it could simply be your mouth’s way of letting you know that you need to do a better job brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. Sometimes, however, bad breath can stem from other causes, such as dry mouth or medical concerns like diabetes, respiratory infections, and chronic bronchitis. If you improve your oral hygiene and your breath doesn’t improve as a result, it’s time to visit your dentist and discuss possible causes of your halitosis.
For more information about the relationship between your oral health and your body’s overall health, contact us today.