Did you know that dental health problems are often directly related to or can lead to other health issues? By caring for your teeth, you are providing preventative care to your overall health. Here are five ways to check for dental health problems that can add years to your life and save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential medical expenses.
Gum disease, often referred to as periodontal disease, affects the tissue that is responsible for holding your teeth permanently in place, and both adults and kids are at risk. It develops when you do not have a daily oral health care routine, such as brushing and flossing your teeth. When you do not care for your teeth and gums, bacteria and plaque develop. Plaque leads to tartar buildup which is not able to be removed by standard brushing. Removal of tartar can only occur with a professional cleaning. It is this tartar that can lead to sore and bleeding gums, painful and difficulty chewing and possible loss of teeth.
Certain people are more susceptible to gum disease than others, such as people who smoke, have diabetes, changes in hormones for women and girls, people with AIDS and people who take certain medications. You can check to see whether or not you have might have gum disease quite easily, including if your gums bleed nearly every time you floss and brush your teeth, you have bad breath you cannot get rid of, your gums are swollen or red, your gums appear to recede, your teeth are highly sensitive or it hurts to chew. If you have any of these symptoms, seek out medical professionals immediately such as Mount Gravatt Newnham Family Dental. It could save your life.
Cavities are essentially tooth decay, and up to 91 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 have some sort of tooth decay, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. You might experience three different types of cavities which are coronal cavities, root cavities and recurrent decay. If you have dry mouth, you are more susceptible as saliva helps to fight against tooth decay. People often suffer from dry mouth because of medications and illness, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
It is difficult to check for cavities as they often hide just under the surface. A few ways to check on your own are to look for any holes that are noticeable in your teeth, pay attention to bad breath, be aware of discoloration of the teeth and be mindful of teeth sensitivity and toothaches. The best way to prevent cavities is regular dentist visits and avoid sugary and starchy foods and beverages.
Plaque and Tartar Buildup
As previously mentioned, dental plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gum disease; however, it can be far more serious. This colorless, sticky plaque often gets stuck where your gums and teeth meet. It can also rest on the surface of your teeth and deteriorate your protective tooth enamel and gums. The lingering bacteria that causes plaque and tartar will feed off sugary drinks and food that remain in your teeth and mouth if you do not brush and floss regularly.
When plaque is not removed properly, it hardens within 72 hours and becomes a brown or yellow deposit that can only be removed by a dentist. This can lead to bad breath, gingivitis and cavities. To prevent these from developing, you can look for signs of the yellow and brown buildup; however, it can be colorless, so use the over-the-counter plaque checking tablets, brush and floss daily and go to the dentist regularly.
Bad breath is often the common denominator that something more serious is wrong in regards to both your oral and physical health. It can be socially awkward or embarrassing to have bad breath in public from coffee or garlic; however, bad breath may be an even greater concern to your health. As you have read, bad breath can be associated with a number of oral health concerns, such as gum disease, cavities, cancer, mouth infections and poor oral health care.
Bad breath may be directly related to other health issues, such as stomach cancer, a sinus infection, lung cancer, heart failure, chronic reflux, complications with diabetes, kidney failure, sleep apnea and allergies. Sadly, it is quite difficult to determine the level of bad odor coming from one’s own mouth. You probably have a good idea; however, the best way to check is to ask a friend or a loved one and see a dental professional. If a dentist determines the root cause of your bad breath is not dental related, they will refer you to a physician for further examination.
Oral cancer, also referred to as mouth cancer, can be devastating as it can affect your ability to eat and drink, your speech and your physical appearance. Mouth cancer can occur in any part of your mouth, including your lips, tongue, gums, cheek lining, the floor of the mouth and the roof of the mouth. Signs you have oral cancer might be that you have a sore that refuses to heal or it bleeds, a lump in your mouth skin, pain in your tongue, jaw stiffness or pain, difficulty chewing or swallowing, a sore throat or your dentures no longer fit properly.
You should perform a mouth exam monthly, just as you with a breast and prostate exam. You should pull out your cheeks and check the lining for any discoloration, lumps or abnormalities. Examine underneath and on the sides of your tongue and inside and outside of your lips. Do the same with your gums. To greatly minimize your risk of mouth cancer, visit your dentist regularly, quit smoking, drink in moderation, eat properly and avoid too much sunlight on your lips.
Good oral hygiene is essential to your overall health. You can prevent many dental and physical health problems with regular checkups at the dentist. And know the signs to look for pertaining to dental health problems to save money and to improve your quality of life.