5 Dental Warning Signs You Shouldn't Ignore
During your twice yearly dental visits, your dentist takes a careful look inside your mouth to make sure everything looks healthy and any problems are caught as early as possible. But between those visits, it’s important you know the signs and symptoms that mean something serious might be going on. When caught early, many dental issues can be fixed before they turn into a larger health problem. Here are five dental warning signs that warrant a call to your dentist.
Bleeding gums: If you notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you could be brushing too hard – and that’s an easy fix. The more likely culprit, though, is gum disease. Bleeding gums are often red and swollen, which are signs that bacteria is building up and infecting your gum tissue. It’s important to talk to your dentist if you have bleeding gums, as they can help clear away the plaque that is contributing to the infection and help you learn how to prevent or even reverse gum disease . Bleeding gums are often the first signs of early stage gum disease (known as gingivitis), but if you let gum disease go untreated, it can lead to severe consequences (which we’ll explain in our next point).
Loose teeth: A telltale sign of advanced gum disease (known as periodontitis) is tooth loss. If you feel a tooth that is not secure in the gum line, you should call your dentist immediately to inspect and treat it. In some cases, loose teeth may also be a sign of osteoporosis, a disease in which bones lose their density and break easier.
Pain in your gums, teeth or jaw: Pain in your mouth can range from bothersome to excruciating – either way, your dentist should know about it. Mouth pain may be signs of a toothache or gum disease, and your dentist can help treat these so you don’t have to suffer through the pain. Jaw pain can mean a lot of things. Stress is a main cause of jaw pain, and understanding how stress is manifesting physically may be the encouragement you need to start putting effort toward managing it. Jaw pain is also considered a symptom of heart attack, so do not wait to talk to your dentist or doctor about getting to the source of your jaw pain.
Bad breath that won’t go away: We all deal with occasional bouts of bad breath after a meal or first thing in the morning, but when it becomes a regular fixture, you should talk to your dentist. It could be connected to other dental health conditions that you’ll want to address, including dry mouth, cavities and gum disease. It can also be a sign of a medical problem, such as diabetes, a sinus infection or gastrointestinal issue.
Sores, lumps or discolored patches: Sores, lumps and white or red patches in and around your mouth or throat that won't go away may be a sign of diabetes, as the condition is associated with delayed healing. This is also a sign of oral cancer, so it’s important that you call your dentist to investigate further if you discover these symptoms.
It’s important to not ignore these oral health signs, but you can’t diagnose the problem alone. Call your dentist if you’re experiencing any of these signs or symptoms. If you need help finding an in-network dentist, Delta Dental of Iowa makes it easy. Search for one near you with our online Find a Provider tool or give us a call at the number on the back of your Delta Dental of Iowa ID card.