When most people think of brushing their teeth and going to the dentist, they think of cavities. We’re supposed to brush our teeth to avoid cavities and go to the dentist to check for – and occasionally fill in – cavities. But there are so many other oral problems to look out for to keep your mouth healthy, and there are reasons your dentist is (or at least should be) checking your whole mouth when you come in for a checkup.
After cavities and tooth decay, the most important thing your dentist should be checking for is gum disease. This can mean gums that are receding or even bleeding. Advanced gum disease can even lead to teeth that are loose or falling out.
It’s not just unpleasant. It’s a sign that something’s wrong. Bad breath can be a symptom of anything from gum disease to diabetes, so if you’ve noticed it’s becoming problematic, you should make an appointment with your dentist right away to have it checked out.
A mouth without enough saliva is a big problem. In addition to helping break down food as it travels from the mouth to the stomach, saliva also helps keep our mouths clean, promoting a healthy microbiome while keeping it clean of germs and bad bacteria. If you’ve noticed your mouth always seems to be dry, it’s an indication of a larger problem and you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
If your teeth have become sensitive to heat and/or cold, it could be a sign that you’re losing enamel. Some dentists may recommend you use a special toothpaste or change your diet to help boost your oral health and keep your teeth healthy and pain free.
Mouth and Jaw Pain
Some people grind their teeth when they’re stressed – often in their sleep, so they don’t even know they’re doing it. But the teeth show the evidence, as does pain in the mouth or jaw, especially first thing in the morning. Teeth grinding can wear down the enamel of your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to the possibility of infection.
In other cases, mouth or jaw pain may be a sign of another condition, such as sinus problems, which is why it’s so important to consult with your dentist if you notice any changes to your oral health so they can diagnose the problem.
Mouth Sores or Lumps
Mouth cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The good news is that it is highly treatable, but only if identified and dealt with right away. That’s why it’s imperative to see your dentist as soon as possible if you’ve noticed any sores or lumps in your mouth. Most of the time, it’ll probably just be a canker sore, which is nothing to worry about, but you never want to take the chance that it may be something more serious. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your oral health.
Why It’s So Important
The mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body, so by failing to keep it clean, you’re inviting other health problems throughout your body. For example, some studies have linked gum disease with everything from heart disease to diabetes and even Alzheimer’s, so keep brushing and flossing!
If you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong, you must take care of them. At Simply Smiles Dentistry, we can show you how to properly care for your teeth. You will have a great smile that lasts a lifetime.
Until next time…Keep on Smiling!