What are the warning signs to watch for when it comes to oral health?
Your mouth might be something you take for granted.
If you’re brushing twice a day, using mouthwash, and flossing, you’re doing everything you need to. Right?
Unfortunately, dental diseases can crop up, even when you’re an oral health devotee. This means you’ll need to watch out for some warning signs that indicate your mouth needs extra attention.
Constantly Bad Breath
The most common cause of bad breath is tooth decay. If you’re on top of your brushing and flossing, other factors might be at play:
- Medical problems such as diabetes, acid reflux, and liver disease.
- Xerostomia, which is a condition where you don’t produce enough saliva.
- Gum disease and tooth decay, which also cause a bad taste in your mouth.
Blood regularly appearing from any part of your body often causes alarm. Yet, many people are happy to ignore their gums bleeding when they brush.
While early gum disease doesn’t sound scary, it can progress to become more serious. In severe cases, infections affecting the rest of your body arise.
Some people develop a more serious jaw infection called periodontitis. Others develop a condition called endocarditis, which is a bacterial infection of the heart.
Visiting your dentist is a good way to find out if there’s a medical cause too.
Painful Jaw or Teeth
Not all tooth pains are equal, and not all jaw pains arise due to a dental cause. Common causes of tooth and jaw pain include:
- Cracked teeth
- Temporor mandibula joint (jaw) disorders (TMD)
- Dental abscesses
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Gum disease
When you start to experience jaw pain, it’s important to find out whether it’s a medical or a dental cause. Some of the conditions above cause jaw pain, and your dentist can address them.
In some cases, you may need to see a specialist instead as oral or jaw pain isn’t always related to a dental complaint.
Patients experiencing a heart attack sometimes have jaw pain as a symptom, for example. Sinusitis can also cause jaw pain and headaches, which may require intervention from an ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist.
Tension headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, and cluster headaches may require a neurologist’s attention. Finally, vascular conditions such as giant cell arteritis can cause jaw pain.
A visit to your dentist doesn’t just address your oral health. You might highlight problems with other areas of your body too.