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Book Your Appointment: 213-385-9710

Red Flags That Your Oral Health Is In Trouble

Red Flags That Your Oral Health Is In Trouble

Taking care of your personal hygiene is crucial to your overall health. It can seem like a simple task, however, people tend to overlook the importance of a healthy mouth.

If you haven’t been taking care of your oral hygiene as much as you should be, check for these warning signs that may indicate that your mouth is in trouble!

If you notice any of the following red flags, you may have poor oral health, and should visit a dentist immediately!

Chronic Bad Breath

Problem: You Have Chronic Bad Breath

Bad breath can be difficult to detect, in yourself, but it is easy to notice when talking to others. The cause might be gum disease, certain foods, excessive drinking, smoking, any medicine you are taking, or a health condition.

The food you eat and poor eating habits are a predominant cause of bad breath. When it comes to the food we eat, a foul odor can emanate from our mouths.

Eating poorly can actually affect your overall body odor, making you feel sluggish and smell terrible.

Strong smelling foods, even healthy ones, like garlic and onions have the most impact on bad breath.

Smoking and chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath and stain your teeth. Both substances have harmful chemicals that can affect an otherwise healthy mouth. When exposed to these toxins, bad breath can appear over time.

Symptoms of Bad Breath

  • A changing or bad odor from your mouth
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • The smell and taste persist even when you brush your teeth
  • Dry mouth

Some Solutions for Bad Breath

The bad news is, brushing, flossing, and mouthwash only temporarily masks the bad odor. The only way to get rid of bad breath caused by food is to wait it out until it passes through your system.

Furthermore, if bad breath persists, you may need to modify your dental habits. If you don’t brush and floss daily (let alone the recommended twice a day), food particles can remain in your mouth, which causes bacteria to grow around the gums and on the tongue. This decay of old food particles in your mouth, coupled with bacteria, produces bad breath.

A simple deep cleaning can remove plaque build up under the gums. Plaque contains odor causing bacteria and is harmful to your mouth.

A deep dental cleaning is, therefore, a good option when you have identified your symptoms of bad breath. Removing the plaques will remove the harmful bacteria. Your breath will smell better in no time!

Woman getting her teeth extracted

Bleeding Gums During Brushing and Flossing

Problem: Chronic Gum Bleeding  

Unless you’re part vampire, blood around your teeth and gums should never be a common occurrence. If your gums are very irritated, you may notice they can actually start to bleed. This is a red flag that all is not well in your mouth. It may happen when you brush or floss your teeth. In more severe cases your gums can bleed from simply chewing food.

Bleeding gums can be the result of various factors, such as brushing too hard, hormonal changes during pregnancy, improper flossing, gum or tooth-related infections, and a Vitamin K deficiency.

It can also be because of inadequate plaque removal from the teeth and gum line – meaning you’re not brushing and cleaning your teeth properly.

If severity increases, bleeding gums can eventually lead to more serious issues like gingivitis and periodontitis.

Symptoms of Bleeding Gums

  • Red or swollen gums
  • An itchy feeling along the gum line
  • Your gums bleed
  • Visible pus around the teeth and gums
  • Burning or pain in the gumline

Solutions for Gums that Bleed  

Kill Bacteria

As soon as you notice your gums bleeding, gargle with warm salt water to help kill bacteria in the mouth. Bleeding gums can stem from a variety of underlying health issues so mention your symptoms to your doctor. The first thing you should do however is rinse your mouth with salt water to kill bacteria and prevent it from getting into your bloodstream.

Don’t Share Food

Keep in mind that gum disease is contagious, a solution to prevent the spread of your gum condition is to avoid sharing food or toothbrushes with others.  Keep out of contact with other people’s mouths until the issue has been treated.

Visit your Dentist

You should consider consulting your healthcare provider if the bleeding is chronic and you have other unexplained symptoms along with bleeding. A deep cleaning may be needed in order to properly clean the plaques that settle beneath the gums.

Proper daily brushing and flossing prevent these plaques from accumulating and hardening. However, if a daily oral hygiene regime is not maintained, it can quickly lead to bleeding gums and oral health problems.

Stop Smoking

For those of you who are smokers and notice changes in your gums, it is a sign that you should quit smoking immediately. Along with heart disease and cancer, smoking can lead to severe cases of gum disease, and tooth loss.

You Experience Dry Mouth

Problem: Your Mouth is Dry Constantly

A dry mouth may be hard for some people to notice at first. It can often be a serious symptom of underlying issues that can be overlooked for years. The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. It is described as any situation where the mouth does not produce enough saliva to stay moist.

It is normal for everyone’s mouth to feel dry from time to time, however, if the feeling persists, it can be a sign of other underlying dental problems.

A dry mouth can result from a number of factors including side effects of medications and medical treatment, infections, nerve damage, dehydration, and smoking.

Having a dry mouth should be considered a serious symptom because if it remains untreated, it can further lead to problems like gingivitis, tooth decay, and mouth infections. Menopause may be a cause of dry mouth in older women.

Symptoms of a Dry Mouth

  • Dry or cracking lips
  • Bad breath
  • A sticky or dry feeling in and around the mouth
  • Sores in the mouth from improper lubrication
  • A dry or rough tongue

Solutions for a Dry Mouth

Drink Water!

In order to minimize some effects of your dry mouth, be sure to drink plenty of water. This will help to keep any bacteria from settling in the mouth while it is dry. Your dry mouth may also simply be caused by dehydration, making water the most immediate and effective solution.

Put Down the Coffee

Apart from staining the teeth, coffee, tea, and pop can cause sensations of temporary dry mouth because they are so rich in caffeine. Avoid coffee if your dry mouth has become an issue, also be sure to avoid alcohol, which can also be a beverage that has a drying effect.

Chew Gum  

Sugar-free gum can help stimulate the flow of saliva in your mouth. If you are looking for a quick way to relieve your symptoms, chewing gum is a good option for immediate results.

Visit Your Dentist

If your dry mouth persists, it may be a sign of something more serious, like an infection of your salivary glands. Inform your dentist about your symptoms. Having a dry mouth for a prolonged period of time can cause the sensitive tissues in your mouth to dry out. This can make your mouth more susceptible to infection, and bacterial growth. Don’t ignore dry mouth, get to your dentist!

Loose Teeth

Problem: Your Teeth Feel Loose

Having loose teeth in childhood is a good sign. However, as we age, a loose tooth can indicate something much more serious going on. Loose teeth can be caused by gum disease, trauma, or a tumor. Regardless of the cause, loose teeth are not something to simply ignore!

If there is any indication of redness and swelling of the gums around your teeth, there is cause for concern. If this persists and leads to experiences of pain and discomfort during mastication, seek a dental professional immediately.

Symptoms

  • Inflamed or red gums
  • an irritated or itchy feeling around the tooth
  • The tooth wiggles or moves

Solutions for Loose Teeth

Do not touch the tooth

Try to avoid chewing on the tooth that has become loose. Don’t touch it with your tongue or chew gum. You do not want to risk it falling out or breaking. You especially don’t want to risk swallowing it with food! Be very gentle with the tooth area until you can get to a dentist.

Do not brush or floss the loose tooth

Brushing and flossing are essential for all of the healthy teeth in your mouth. However, if your tooth is very loose, try to avoid brushing it like you would brush the others. Try and keep the area around the tooth clean by gargling salt water, but avoid flossing directly around the tooth, or brushing it too vigorously.

Get to your dentist ASAP!

Treatments for loose teeth can include gum cleaning, splinting, and treating abscesses. It is very important that your teeth are treated before they fall out.

There is nothing that makes up for a real tooth, implants are possible but are expensive and if there are many needed, they can cause bone loss in the jaw. It is very common for a tooth to become loose in final stages of tooth decay.

The tooth will fall out if you do not seek medical attention. Most of the time, the tooth can be filled and saved, so it is best to save yourself the bigger issues later and resolve tooth decay as soon as you notice the signs. In any case, this is a very important dental issue and you should book in with your dentist immediately.

Sores Appear in your Mouth

Problem: you are experiencing sores that don’t heal

If you notice sores developing frequently in your mouth, you should take this as a hint that all is not well. Sores in the mouth can be caused by many different underlying issues. A sore mouth might be caused by false teeth that don’t fit well.

It could also be from leaving false teeth in overnight. “Burning mouth syndrome” is a problem that affects seniors. Not eating the right kind of food may also be the cause. There can be more serious reasons for oral sores, primarily, mouth cancer.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • Bleeding that you can’t explain
  • Mouth sores that don’t heal in 7 to 10 days
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Feeling numb or sore inside your mouth

Solution for mouth sores 

These symptoms may be signs of oral cancer and you should set up an appointment with your dentist right away!

These are just some of the signs of having poor oral hygiene. As you now know, these symptoms can indicate a serious mouth-related infection or even cancer.

Other signs can include sensitivity to hot and cold foods, lumps or bumps in the mouth, and toothaches. It’s important to address any discomfort in your mouth right away because as they say, prevention is better than treatment!

Sensitivity to Temperature

Problem: You are experiencing sensitive teeth

Many teeth lose enamel as you get older. Certain foods, smoking, and improper dental care can cause some people to lose sooner than others. In order to prevent loss of enamel, your dentist can soak your teeth in fluoride at your bi-annual dentist’s appointment.

This is an essential mineral that your teeth need to maintain proper levels of tooth enamel. If your teeth are sensitive to temperature, chances are high that your enamel is wearing thin, making the nerves in the tooth slightly more exposed to external input.

Symptoms of temperature sensitivity 

  • Yellowing teeth caused by lack of enamel
  • Receding gums that can expose the nerve of the tooth
  • Sensitivity to temperature
  • Sensitivity to certain foods

Solutions for tooth sensitivity  

Avoid foods with extreme temperatures

It may seem simple but the fastest way to eliminate the immediate problem is to simply avoid eating foods that can cause your tooth sensitivities. This is not a long-term solution, but it may do the trick, to temporarily reduce pain.

Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth

There are many different lines of toothpaste that are meant to target temperature sensitivities in your teeth. If your pain is mild, this may be the best idea. The toothpaste works quickly to alleviate tooth pain caused by sensitivities. They contain certain desensitizing ingredients that work to block any holes in the tooth enamel, keeping temperatures from affecting the nerves of the teeth. This is an affordable option, and an easy fix if the pain is not frequent.

Visit the dentist

Lastly, if you have very sensitive teeth and it has become a more prominent issue, it might be a good idea to visit the dentist. Your dentist can apply sealants for teeth with depleted enamel. This can prevent temperatures from affecting the nerves of the tooth.

Your dentist may also perform fillings, on teeth that may have older fillings that need to be replaced. Fillings can age over time and they can crack, exposing the root of the tooth.your sensitivity may simply mean that you need a new filling.

If your gums are receding from age or poor oral hygiene, the dentist can perform a gum graft, in order to cover the areas of the teeth that have been exposed to the elements due to a receding gum line. This can especially be an issue with smokers or people who enjoy chewing tobacco who may have exposed their teeth to harmful chemicals, causing the gums to recede.

Tooth sensitivity can come in a variety of different cases. If it is too painful to ignore, visiting your dentist is the best option.

Don’t Ignore the Red Flags

Visiting your dentist is just like visiting your doctor. There is no such thing as a bad question, and your oral problems and concerns are our top priority. The key to the best oral health is prevention.

A major way to catch oral problems before they become serious is to visit your dentist regularly and let them know any changes that you notice in your oral health. Sometimes even patients with regular oral health routines can experience these symptoms.

Having trouble with oral health does not necessarily mean you practice poor oral hygiene. On the contrary, many times it can be a result of hormonal changes or genetics in the case of oral cancer. This is why everyone should make oral health a priority, and visit the dentist today!