If you are like many adults, you've probably skipped a dental checkup or two in your life. Maybe your work schedule was too hectic or you didn't feel it was necessary to get your teeth checked. However, skipping dental appointments can come back to bite you later. If you do not get a dental cleaning and exam every six months, you put yourself at risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay and other oral health problems.
If you notice any of the following signs, you should contact your dentist immediately.
1. Your Gums Are Swollen
Do your gums look puffier than usual? If the answer is yes, you may have gum disease. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, heart disease and other health problems. Have a dentist look at your gums and recommend the appropriate treatment, such as root planing and scaling.
Your dentist may also advise you to floss more diligently, increase your vitamin C intake and avoid stress.
2. Your Teeth Are Sensitive to Hot and Cold Temperatures
If you can't eat seem to eat ice cream or drink hot tea without wincing, it may be a cause for concern. Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures can sometimes indicate a cavity. If your dentist determines that you do have a cavity, he or she can fill it before the problem worsens.
3. You Have Frequent Headaches
If you have been having a lot of headaches lately, you probably do not think it has anything to do with your oral health. However, headaches and oral health are more related than you think. If you tend to get headaches when you wake up in the morning, you may grind your teeth while you sleep. Frequent grinding can wear down the enamel of your teeth and make them more susceptible to chips and cracks.
Your dentist can give you a custom mouth guard to wear at night to stop the grinding.
4. Your Tooth Hurts
Tooth pain is excruciating and can prevent you from concentrating and going about your day. Even if the pain subsides after you have taken over-the-counter painkillers, you should still see your dentist as soon as possible. You may have a cavity or infection on your tooth. If you delay seeing a dentist, the pain will just get worse.
5. You Have Bad Breath
Having bad breath can be pretty embarrassing. While it is normal to occasionally experience foul breath after you've eaten certain foods, constant bad breath could be a sign of an underlying condition. Gum disease is one of the most common causes of bad breath. As mentioned above, gum disease can lead to devastating side effects if it is not treated promptly.
If you find yourself avoiding getting too close to people because of your bad breath, contact your dentist right away.
6. Your Mouth Sore Isn't Healing
If your mouth sore has stuck around for a while, do not just ignore it. A persistent mouth sore is one of the most common signs of oral cancer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. He or she can give you an oral cancer screening and then recommend the appropriate treatment.
It is a lot easier to treat oral cancer if it is discovered early.
Do not take your oral health for granted. If something does not seem right with your mouth, you should not hesitate to call your dentist. He or she can examine the issue and treat it accordingly. If you want to learn more information about taking care of your oral health, you may want to contact Steven Devins, DDS.