As we grow older and our life gets busier, all our adult responsibilities pile up higher and higher before we truly realize it. With time, it becomes easier to practice postponing and putting health checkup plans on the back burner while other seemingly more important tasks take our attention. That is until a nagging discomfort in your mouth reminds you that it has been a long while since your last dental checkup.
No one really enjoys visiting the dentist, and we often refrain from making routine visits until necessary. However, doctors and global healthcare providers have stated that regular trips to the clinic are required to avoid several chronic health problems.
One lesser-known reason to hasten your visit is that your dentist can help diagnose the state of your general health (referring to your other organs). For example, upon inspection of your gums and mouth, the dentist can spot more apparent signs of severe illnesses like cancer.
With this in mind, keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms to know that it is time to contact your local dentist.
Signs You Need To Visit Your Dentist
We shall begin with perhaps the most obvious sign that you need dental intervention- toothaches. Toothaches must never be ignored, as most forms of pain are the body’s method of indicating that something in your system is amiss.
With this in mind, a toothache could have numerous causes such as decay, a cavity, growing wisdom teeth, a broken tooth, an excessively chipped tooth, an abscess, or extreme bruxism.
A toothache could originate from a tooth or the surrounding area, and treatment will depend on the cause. Some pain originates from the gums and manifests in the teeth. Leave it to a dental expert to assess the cause of the pain, and they will take care of the possible treatments.
2. Puffy or bleeding gums after brushing
It is a common misconception that bleeding from your gums after brushing is normal, as it happens to us all. However, if you bleed from your gums, mouth, or tooth sockets very easily, i.e., without any injury or trauma, these could all have caused more severe than aggressive brushing.
For example, gum disease or mouth conditions need to be tested. Ensure that you visit your local dentist as this might be a sign of gingivitis, and getting early treatment helps protect your teeth. If left untreated, the infection could be aggravated and damage the surrounding tissue and the underlying bone.
Detecting the underlying cause is crucial as early intervention could reverse and prevent future damage.
3. Sores and bumps
Mouth sores are often painful and uncomfortable, especially when eating or talking. Canker sores, in the same vein, are shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums. If you have a canker sore that doesn’t seem to heal or is unusually large, or random bumps appear in spots of your mouth where there were once none, it.
4. Malaligned teeth
Although you can’t see it while it is happening, human teeth are always on the move and will continue to shift incrementally throughout our lives. As these shifts are so minor and slow, changes in your teeth’s alignment won’t be visible overnight.
With this in mind, however, several factors may exacerbate the degree of movement that teeth undergo, including crooked teeth and a misaligned jaw, change of jaw shape, and teeth growing weaker. For example, an increase in asymmetry in one or both dental arches – known as midline drift – is a common sign of shifting teeth.
While numerous people believe that malaligned teeth are solely aesthetically unappealing, they can also have practical consequences. For example, one may have difficulty speaking and chewing. If you are concerned about your teeth moving, ensure that you reach out to your orthodontist or dentist sooner rather than later.
5. Dry mouth
Saliva in the mouth serves various purposes, including washing away food particles and neutralizing plaque. This lubricating enzyme allows food to be digested more quickly and takes care of harmful acids.
A dry mouth is a condition of having a sticky and dry feeling in the mouth. It is accompanied by frequent thirst as well. Dry mouth is often considered a side effect of certain medications and an indicator of the lifestyle you lead, but ensure that you visit a dentist to determine the cause and restore moisture. If your usually well-lubricated mouth suddenly feels dry, this might be a cause for concern.
6. Receding gums
As mentioned previously, it is natural for our bodies to go through changes as it grows older. That said, some gum recession can be a standard part of ageing. However, recession can also be a sign of gum disease.
For example, when a gum recedes, small pockets form between the teeth and gum line, providing an area for disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated for too long, the supporting tissue and bone structure below can get damaged, ultimately leading to tooth loss.
To identify a receding gum, you will notice the delicate roots of your teeth being exposed. This exposure increases the chances of decay and infection, so you must ensure that you visit the dentist as early as possible. Finally, remember that prevention is better than cure and that early intervention could potentially reverse the damage caused.
7. Suspicious discoloration and textures
Although most forms of discoloration can connect to food and beverages, more intrinsic causes might result in a greying tooth. Depending on the cause, the color could appear yellow, black, purple, brown, and spots of white.
If you notice a strange change in the color that does not improve with a whitening product, it’s a sign that you must see your dentist. Similarly, if persistent white or red patches appear where there were none, check with your local dentist to address the problem.
8. Tenderness or discomfort when biting
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem when the tooth enamels wear away or the tooth roots are exposed. New sensitivity that you haven’t experienced until that very point to certain foods or temperatures might indicate cavities, a chipped tooth, gum disease, and/or a worn filling could be the underlying cause. To Identify the correct cause and take care of the treatment, do not ignore the pain; see your dentist soon.
9. Bad breath
Early-morning lousy breath is normal and generally goes away when you have something to drink and/or clean your teeth. If you experience bad breath that seems persistent even after a thorough clean-up and maintaining proper oral hygiene, it might indicate signs of an underlying condition.
For example, you may refer to a periodontist or a dum specialist if you have gum disease. Gum disease can cause gums to pull away from your teeth, leaving deep pockets that fill with odor-causing bacteria. Sometimes only professional cleaning removes these bacteria.
10. Jaw problems or pain
When eating, if you face an uneven bite, a popping when you chew, or a sudden pain when you move your jaw, this could advance to a more serious issue if left untreated. Some people suffer from bruxism when they have a sleep disorder, are stressed, or are dealing with anxiety, and these teeth grinding conditions can cause them to have a long-term uneven bite.
Treating these underlying issues could help to ease or stop your grinding. Meet your dentist to cross out any chance of an underlying illness.
As we learned in our younger days, eating a healthy diet and limiting added sugar intake is vital to prevent tooth decay and a more beneficial outcome. This, coupled with a thorough brushing twice daily (with good fluoride toothpaste), is important to keep one’s mouth fresh and control plaque and bacterial buildup.
Just as importantly, cleaning between the teeth (also called flossing) is necessary at least once a day, as the Australian Dental Association recommended. This practice removes food and bacteria that collect in these tiny spaces.
Unfortunately, if you don’t keep up with such practices, you can run the risk of gum disease and contribute to faster tooth decay. In addition to these, ensure that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from any sort of injuries that you make encounter while playing contact sports. Although the sheer number of dentists makes picking the best one quite daunting, rest assured that a bit of research goes a long way.
Remember that getting dental checkups and detecting problems early helps prevent severe infections and possible worsening of your discomfort. By making frequent dental visits and consulting your dentist about any concerns you may have as soon as you discover them, you save on your future expenses and avoid spending copious amounts on expensive treatments.
Dental problems can affect your self-confidence, general health, and quality of life. So with your regular brushing, flossing, and keeping up a healthy lifestyle, don’t sideline your dental checkups, and keep an eye out for early dental trouble.