Warning Signs of Poor Oral Health

close up of teeth with tartar build up

Most people know that maintaining good oral health is important. Still, many don’t realize the full extent of poor oral health’s consequences on their overall health. In fact, research has shown a link between poor oral health and several severe medical conditions. Here are five warning signs that your oral health may be in trouble.

Gum disease

Anyone can get gum disease. It happens when the gums are not kept clean, and plaque is allowed to build up. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar is much harder to remove than plaque, and it can cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed easily. If gum disease is not treated, it can damage the tissues and bone that support the teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. Tooth loss can harm overall health. One way to fix your tooth loss problem is through dental implants. Dental implants can replace missing teeth and look and function like natural teeth.

Fortunately, gum disease is usually preventable. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and regularly flossing can help remove plaque before it hardens into tartar. And if tartar does form, professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it. By taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can help prevent gum disease.

Tooth decay

Tooth decay is a common problem that can lead to some serious health problems. Also known as dental caries or cavities, tooth decay occurs when the tooth’s hard outer shell is weakened by acid. This acid is produced when plaque accumulates on the teeth, a sticky film of food and bacteria. Plaque not only damages the enamel, but it can also erode the dentin, the inner layer of the tooth. Tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss if left untreated.

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily will help remove plaque and keep your teeth healthy. You should also see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups. If your teeth become damaged due to tooth decay, your dentist may recommend fillings or other restorative treatments. Taking these measures can help protect your teeth from decay and keep your smile looking its best.

Bad breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a severe issue. It’s not just about being self-conscious or embarrassing yourself in social situations. In extreme cases, bad breath can signify a more serious underlying health condition. While there are many potential causes of bad breath, the most common is poor oral hygiene. When food particles and bacteria are allowed to build up on your teeth and tongue, they can produce foul-smelling odors. Other potential causes of bad breath include sinus infections, postnasal drip, dry mouth, tobacco use, and certain foods and drinks. Talk to your dentist or doctor if you’re concerned about your breath. They can help you identify the cause of the problem and recommend treatment options.

A young woman covering her mouth

Oral cancer

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, every hour, one person dies from oral cancer in the United States. You may not know this, but your risk of developing oral cancer increases as you age. In fact, two-thirds of all cases are diagnosed in people 55 or older.

The good news is that you can take steps to decrease your risk. For example, quit smoking and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. These are two of the most critical risk factors for developing oral cancer. In addition, practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups. Early detection is key to successful treatment, so it is vital to know the signs and symptoms of oral cancer. These include changes in color or texture of the tissue in the mouth, persistent sore throats, difficulty swallowing, and lumps or swellings in the mouth or neck. If you notice any of these changes, be sure to see your dentist right away.

Teeth grinding

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a habit that can cause various problems for oral health. If you grind your teeth at night, you may not be aware of it, but your dentist can usually tell by examining your teeth for wear or damage. Over time, tooth grinding can wear down the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay. It can also cause headaches, jaw pain, and other problems. There are many ways to treat bruxism, including dental appliances that help keep your teeth from grinding together. If you think you might be grinding your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about ways to protect your oral health.

Regular visits to the dentist can help you avoid all of these issues. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth daily, and see your dentist at least once a year for a professional cleaning and check-up. Have any questions? Contact our office to speak with one of our friendly staff members.


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