Ask Away Blog: The Oral Health Issues You Need To Keep An Eye On

The Oral Health Issues You Need To Keep An Eye On

Monday, November 16, 2020

 

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In childhood, most of us learn to be fearful of visits to the dentist. Even if we are careful to keep up with our dental hygiene regime, the impact of that chair and those implements is enough to give nightmares. On the positive side, it is usually incentive enough to keep a good dental care regime up beyond childhood, because none of us wants to go back there in a hurry. As adults, we may go back occasionally for a check-up, but visits to the dentist are really more of an “in extremis” measure the older we get.

Nonetheless, our oral health needs to be monitored just like every other aspect of our physical wellbeing. Not only can things go wrong with our teeth and the surrounding area, but issues that begin in the mouth can spread to the rest of the body. Indeed, it is not unheard-of for a dentist, or other doctor who focuses on the mouth, to identify issues that could require acute, life-saving care. So it makes sense for you to be very careful with your teeth and keep an eye out for the following issues.

Toothache

In many cases, the first we know of an oral health issue is when we have pain in the dental area. Toothache can be a sign of any one of a number of issues. Most usually it is simply a response to a cavity forming, but that doesn’t mean we can be laissez-faire with getting it treated. Cavities create the opportunity for other, worse afflictions, which can include gum infections and if left untreated can become abscesses.

If you have toothache that persists for longer than a few minutes, it’s worth making an appointment to get things checked out. It may be nothing that needs follow-up treatment - but on the other hand, a quick appointment can stop it from becoming a labour-intensive, uncomfortable and expensive recurring issue.

Bleeding gums

Spotting blood in the sink when you are brushing your teeth can be disquieting but, as with toothache, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have any issue that needs prolonged attention. Particularly if you have been brushing more or harder than usual, or if you have recently begun using dental floss, it’s not a sign of anything concerning. However, if neither of these is the case, it may be time to see a dentist or the periodontist who dentists trust with gum issues. Gingivitis, an early and reversible gum infection, may be at fault for your issues.

A close look at your gums can reveal that you are at risk from, or may already be suffering from, conditions as diverse as diabetes and even heart disease. Your dentist or periodontist is trained to look for tell-tale signals that may have passed you by in the course of daily brushing. For your part, it is wise to be awake to any different sensations in your gums, whether during brushing or at other times. If your bite feels a little “spongey”, you may also be well advised to seek help.

Abnormalities of the jaw

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Your jaw is a part of the body that carries an exceptional amount of force and strength, and whose importance you are unlikely to realize until you find it compromised. Your dentist may take an X-ray of your mouth while seeking to diagnose another issue and, while looking at the pictures, recognize the signs of bone density loss. This can be the first sign of osteoporosis, which has clear implications for the rest of the body, so if you perceive any signs of weakness in the jaw it is worth making an early appointment to see a dentist.

There are numerous conditions that can cause your jaw to function below its usual efficiency. One such issue is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which can have a laundry list of knock-on effects that will make life pretty uncomfortable. Often the first sign of TMJ is a pain or clicking noise coming from the jaw, so don’t ignore any of these warnings. Your jaw may “pop” when you open your mouth particularly wide; if this is an isolated occurrence you may not need to worry, but if you notice pain or noises continuing it is wise to take action before it gets worse.

If something goes wrong with your mouth, teeth, or the area around them, it is time to make a dental appointment and get it dealt with quickly. Even if you still carry around the childhood trauma of dentist visits, it’s beneficial to do something about these issues.


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