Practicing good oral hygiene is important, such as a regimen of brushing and scheduling regular visits to the dentist. If you’ve constantly put off a visit to your local dentist, you are not alone. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 42% of Americans don’t visit the dentist regularly despite the majority of them believing oral health is extremely important to their overall wellbeing.
Getting the best dental treatment can preserve your sparkling smile and save you from other health complications later on. If you’re not sure if it’s time for you to schedule a visit, here are eight tell-tale signs you should keep an eye out for:
1. You have bad breath
It’s common to have bad breath or a sour taste in your mouth after eating onions, garlic, or spicy food, but having persistent bad breath that won’t go away after brushing and gargling with mouthwash might be a sign of a serious underlying condition.
2. You have stains on your teeth
Smoking, drinking plenty of coffee, eating sugary food in excess can leave unsightly yellow or brown spots on your teeth. Poor oral hygiene and a lack of proper brushing and flossing can also cause discoloration on the surfaces of your teeth.
3. You see blood when you brush or floss
If you’re noticing blood in your mouth or coming from your gums every time you brush or floss, this might be an indicator of gingivitis or other gum diseases. Tiny food particles can collect and harden in the crevices between teeth and can cause damage to your gums. Regular brushing might not be able to address these conditions.
4. You experience pain when eating hot or cold beverages
If you find yourself grabbing your jaw when you’re drinking a hot cup of coffee or an iced tea, you might have sensitive teeth. This is usually caused by the wearing of the tooth enamel on the surface of your teeth and the roots of which have been exposed. These damaged surfaces will not only cause pain and discomfort when they come in contact with hot or cold drinks but also can cause cavities and tooth decay.
5. Your tongue is discolored
Know that the tongue is as important as your teeth in maintaining the cleanliness of your mouth. Having a black hairy tongue may be caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells and the overgrowth of the papillae. Although it is generally harmless, an oral care specialist will advise you on proper cleaning routines.
6. There are persistent sores on your mouth and lips
Blisters on your lips or on the walls of your mouth may be a symptom of a bigger underlying infection. If the infection is mild, it may go away after two weeks with proper oral hygiene. Persistent sores, however, may require stronger treatment and a dental care specialist can help identify what is triggering it.
7. You are pregnant
Expecting mothers need to be more careful of their dental hygiene as any oral diseases may migrate to the rest of the body and her unborn baby.
8. You’re currently undergoing chemotherapy or other medical treatment
While experts don’t recommend dental treatment for those who are in chemotherapy, it is important to monitor your oral hygiene for viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. Radiation therapy also carries with it risks for mucositis or the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the digestive tract, which may be caused by neglecting oral hygiene during therapy.
Watching out for these warning signs can help prevent more serious complications from arising. There may be more symptoms that are not immediately noticeable, which is why it’s best to find a local dental practice that you can visit regularly.
Maintaining oral health is crucial, especially in these challenging times. Prevent disease and infection by scheduling regular check-ups with your dentist.
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