We use our mouths for a whole host of things from eating to talking as well as expressing ourselves. While no one wants to spend their Saturday afternoon in a dentist’s chair, this is unfortunately an important part of your wellbeing and if neglected can lead to more serious issues.
Most people are fine checking in with their dentist once or twice a year, but if you suffer from any of the symptoms below, it may be a good idea to book an appointment a little sooner.
1. Tooth Ache
A tooth ache is usually characterized by a sharp or throbbing pain originating from the afflicted tooth. This can also be accompanied with swelling around the area, a fever or headache and in some cases a sour tasting discharge originating from the tooth.
This can be caused by multiple issues including tooth decay, teeth grinding, an abscess or infection or even poor gum health. In some cases tooth pain can also indicate a need for tooth removal.
Most common of which is wisdom teeth pain.Wisdom teeth removal cost depends on stage you’re getting it done.
If the pain persists for more than a few days or is stopping you from eating, it’s time to pay your dentist a visit.
If you’ve ever suffered from tooth ache you are well aware there are few pains quite like it, so it’s best avoided altogether by visiting your dentist regularly for check ups to make sure your mouth is in top form.
2. Bad Breath (aka. Halitosis)
Most of the population (although they may not admit it) suffer from a bad case of morning breath.
This is usually solved by a tall glass of water and a morning brush, however if bad breath persists throughout the rest of the day, this is usually a sign of a deeper issue. Some of the more obvious causes of bad breath are eating foods like garlic or onions, certain habits like drinking or smoking.
But it can just be caused by poor dental hygiene in general. While these are all easily fixed, sometimes bad breath can be a sign of more serious issues.
Infection, tonsil stones or even dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) are other known causes, but in rarer cases it may be a symptom of a more serious condition.
Usually there is little to worry about and bad breath is easily treated, however if the issue persists it’s best to get checked out by your dentist for peace of mind.
3. Jaw Pain
As mentioned previously, the mouth is responsible for many basic functions such as eating and communication – for this reason exactly jaw pain can be a huge hindrance in day-to-day life and can be a big set back.
So what causes it? The most common causes of jaw pain are actually temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders – TMDs or TMJs for short.
These can be caused by grinding your teeth in your sleep or involuntary clenching of the jaw – both of which are usually tied those suffering from stress, anxiety or poor mental health. TMDs can also be caused by trauma sustained by the jaw such as a sports-related injury or getting into a brawl.
There are a few other reasons you may be suffering from a TMD such as arthritis in the jaw’s protective disc or said disc slipping out place as well as excess stimulation of the jaw joint. Your dentist is the best person to advise you on how to treat a TMD.
While TMDs are the most common contributor to jaw pain, other conditions such as cluster headaches, sinus problems, tooth ache and in some cases more serious issues can be the main factor for your discomfort.
There are a few things you can do short term to help the symptoms such as applying hot or cold compresses to the source of pain, taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or even massaging the afflicted area.
If the problem persists, your dentist should be able to find the root cause and hopefully offer a more permanent solution.
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4. Irritated Gums
When most people think of oral hygiene, their immediate thought is teeth and what they should do to take care of them.
Teeth are obviously a main part of your oral hygiene, but few people stop to consider the other very important component, their gums. Taking care of your gums is just as important as caring for your pearly whites – gum problems, if left untreated by your dentist, are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and can often spread to the teeth causing further infection and discomfort.
Gum disease is often characterized by bleeding and general irritation or soreness of the gums. Proper care such as flossing and the right brushing technique is essential to gum health and can help keep gum disease at bay.
If your gums have a tendency to bleed both during and after brushing or if you experience any redness or swelling, it may be a good idea to book at appointment with the dentist to make sure these are not signs of a bigger issue.
5. Dry Mouth
As touched on previously, dry mouth can lead to bad breath as well as general discomfort of the mouth, nose and throat area, but what exactly causes it?
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition defined by the inability to produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist.
This can be due to the side effect of a certain medication or can sometimes occur with age. Often cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment are also subject to bouts of dry mouth.
As well as bad breath, dry mouth can cause difficulty chewing, thicker saliva, a sore throat leading to discomfort when swallowing and can even lead to changes in taste.
If you have experienced dry mouth for a period of time or you feel your case is particularly severe, you may want to look into booking an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later.
If left untreated, dry mouth can also lead to higher plaque production, mouth sores and even oral yeast infections (also known as thrush).
Consistent and thorough oral hygiene as well as a healthy diet will keep most of these conditions at bay. However if any issues should arise it’s always a good idea to consult with your dentist as soon as you can.
Routine dentist checkups are also a great preventative measure ensuring your teeth and gums are healthy as can be!