Do you remember our numbers from our Brushing Basics article*?
- Over 40 million Americans are missing ALL their teeth
- Over 100 million Americans lack dental insurance
- Over 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth
- Over 3.5 billion people world wide are dealing with the effects of oral disease
We have learned brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and getting a professional cleaning once every six months help us stay out of those statistics. One other way to protect your oral health, is to watch for the most prevalent warning signs.
Just as high blood pressure and high cholesterol are warning signs of heart disease, the following conditions are warning signs of oral health issues.
Your gums may start to bleed when you brush or floss. It could be because you are not flossing properly, or it could be a more serious sign of bacteria. When bacteria gets into the gums, it can cause your gums to bleed. Keep flossing correctly, and if your gums continue to bleed after a week of regular flossing, contact your dentist.
Mouth or Jaw Pain:
Pain in your mouth or jaw can be a warning sign. Sometimes this pain is triggered by stress, an infected tooth, or a sinus infection. If the pain persists, contact a dentist or doctor to ensure there isn’t something more going on.
When you are younger, losing teeth is exciting and a good sign that you are growing up. Once your permanent teeth have all come in, you should not have any loose teeth. It could be a sign of a bacteria infection or bone loss. If you notice a tooth moving, contact your dentist.
Changes in Surface of Teeth:
Discoloration of your tooth or translucent enamel can be a sign of acid reflux and even eating disorders. The first step to figure out the diagnosis would be to check with your dentist and then consider talking to a doctor.
Nobody ever wants to know they have bad breath, but severe and consistent bad smelling breath can be your body’s way of telling you there is a problem. Gum disease, gingivitis, tonsillitis, diabetes ,infections, and liver or kidney diseases are all conditions that can cause bad smelling breath. If your breath persists, even with good brushing and flossing habits, contact a dentist.
Sores or off-colored patches in your mouth can be a sign of oral cancer. If the sores bleed, are hard to the touch, look discolored, or are numb feeling, contact your dentist immediately.
Just as doing the little things like flossing and brushing help keep your teeth healthy, watching for these warning signs can protect you from other major issues. Be aware of your oral health, and take the time to take care of your mouth!
American College of Prosthodontics - https://www.prosthodontics.org/assets/1/7/ACP_Talking_points_for_Missing_Teeth_1-12-15.pdf