We’re all taught that there are certain health symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore– chest pain, for example. That’s because a seemingly innocent symptom can actually be a sign of something far more serious; pain in the chest can be indicative of a heart attack. But what about our oral health? Are there symptoms that occur in the mouth that should raise a red flag for us? The answer is a resounding yes. Consider the following oral health symptoms that you should never ignore:
Snoring. Does your partner often complain of a restless night of sleep due to your snoring? Snoring– which is the sound that results when the airway is partially blocked during sleep– is extremely common. Most people aren’t aware, however, that snoring can negatively impact oral health. How? Snoring can lead to dry mouth, which is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Without the proper amount of saliva to moisten the mouth’s tissues, a host of oral health problems can develop, including decay, halitosis, periodontal disease, and sores in the mouth. Simply put: snoring is more than a nuisance that interrupts your partner’s sleep at night. If you’re a chronic snorer, it’s time to consult your doctor.
Bleeding. After flossing at night, you rinse your mouth out with water and notice a trail of blood in the sink. Make no mistake: it is not normal for your gums to bleed. If the bleeding persists despite brushing twice a day and flossing daily, it’s time to visit the dentist. Bleeding gums can indicate gingivitis, which is the earliest stage of gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis– and ultimately result in tooth loss. Bleeding gums aren’t only indicative of periodontal disease, however; gums that bleed can also be a sign of malnutrition or even certain types of cancer.
Bad breath. Everyone has bad breath sometimes; for example, your breath isn’t going to smell minty fresh after eating an onion or when you first wake in the morning. However, chronic halitosis can be indicative of more serious health concerns. If you regularly practice good oral hygiene– including brushing the tongue– and still suffer from bad breath, visit your dentist to help determine the underlying cause. Chronic halitosis can indicate periodontal disease or even liver and kidney disease.
Clicking or popping jaw. Does your jaw commonly click or pop when you’re chewing, talking, or yawning? If so, you might be suffering from a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull; it’s what allows your jaw to move up and down. When there are problems with that joint, TMD is the result. In addition to a popping or clicking jaw, there are many other symptoms of TMD, including:
- Clenching and grinding of the teeth– otherwise known as bruxism.
- Frequent earaches.
- Dizziness and headaches.
- Jaw pain and tenderness.
- Inability to open the mouth wide.
Because TMD is progressive, it’s important to seek treatment early– when you first start to experience symptoms.
Pain. Teeth that hurt– whether it be a dull ache or sharp pain– should not be ignored. A common cause of tooth pain, of course, is decay. However, pain in the mouth can have other causes, including a fractured tooth, infection of the gums, or an abscessed tooth. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can be extremely dangerous, as the infection from the tooth can spread throughout the body. The bottom line: if you have a persistent toothache or pain in the mouth, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Are you ready to take steps towards achieving your healthiest smile? Contact Caputo Dental today to get started.