Milwaukee Family Dental Tips – Health Signs in the Mouth
In our last article with Milwaukee family dental tips, we shared with you some major illness and condition alerts your dental health can provide. Yet, there are other – not necessarily major, but important – health clues your mouth can give you as well.
Therefore, we decided to share a few more Milwaukee family dental tips regarding health signals your oral status can provide you and your dentist.
Look at these dental signs and warnings and what they say about your health in general:
Sharp Tooth Pain
Sometimes, tooth pain can just be random. You may even merely have a small piece of food stuck in the gums. Or you might have bitten down or into something that made the tooth overly sensitive for a few days.
However, if the pain lasts for more than 2 or 3 days, it could be a sign of something else—slightly more severe and needing attention. It could be a cavity or possibly, a sinus infection if the pain seems centered around the top teeth (closest to the sinuses). In either case, your dentist should be able to diagnose and treat this for you.
Tooth Color Changes
When we mention tooth color changes, we are not talking about minor discoloration such as from wine, coffee or smoking. The color changes you need to be more aware of are the ones below. Also, if you do experience any of these, be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Dark brown or black spots: Cavity
- Red or blue hue to teeth: Tooth/teeth cracked to the pulp where nerves and blood vessels are affected
- White, yellow, or brown spots and grooves: Warning sign for Celiac Disease
Sores Around the Corners of Mouth
Are the sores on the outside of the mouth crater-like? If so, these are likely canker sores or ulcers. Canker sores and ulcers can have many causes such as stress, hormones, allergies, or a nutritional deficiency. For these, the solution is pretty simple. There are many available over the counter, topical ointments, and creams specifically for this purpose.
On the other hand, if there are fluid-filled blisters on the mouth or in the corners of mouth this may be the Herpes Simplex virus. These usually take about three weeks to heal so if you tend to get these often and significantly, you may want to visit a doctor to see if prescription treatment is right for you. Or you can try some of the newer OTC treatments like Releve or Abreva. They claim to shorten the duration of oral herpes blisters.
However, do keep in mind that if you notice your blister(s) is/are not even beginning to heal after two or three weeks, or they are turning redder, white, or are very swollen, go ahead and see your dentist ASAP. Consider this one of the most critical Milwaukee family dental tips in this article. In rare instances, this could be the sign of a worsening infection or oral cancer. It’s best to get this checked out professionally and quickly.
A Weird Taste In Your Mouth
Feel like you are tasting metal? This can sometimes be due to medicines you are taking, or it may be a sign of a bigger problem like gum disease. If you are having other signs of gum disease like bleeding or inflamed gums, then a trip to the dentist to figure this out is definitely in order.
Alternatively, a metallic taste in the mouth can also be due to a zinc deficiency—something common in vegetarians.
Slit-like “Cuts” on the Inner Corners of Lips
Most people assume these inner corner cuts are simply due to chapped or dry lips. Yet, that’s not always the case.
While they may start for these reasons, if they begin to crust and bleed, they may also be associated with a vitamin deficiency and/or a bacteria or fungal infection that needs treatment.
A thick white coat on the tongue can be nothing, or it can be a symptom of an oral yeast infection called “thrush” (yes, just like babies get) that requires treatment. While not necessarily common in adults, it can be found and especially, after treatment with antibiotics or other medications.
White bumps in the back of the mouth on the tongue need to be checked ASAP. They can be a sign of oral HPV and would require some level of treatment. However, a biopsy of the nodules would have to be performed for a definitive diagnosis.
A discolored tongue may also be nothing or something that needs immediate attention. Therefore, it’s always best to get it checked by your dentist as quickly as you can get in, as well.
Unfortunately, many people just consider dry mouth uncomfortable or a slight nuisance. But it’s so much more important an issue than that.
While the cause of dry mouth can surely be innocuous – such as medications or just not drinking enough – the result is that it creates an environment for bigger problems. Moisture in your mouth helps make sure you don’t get cavities and also assists in preventing tooth decay and even gum disease. Chewing sugarless gum is beneficial if you know your dry mouth is associated with prescription meds. Drinking more water is a good idea if you think your dry mouth may be due to an over-consumption of soda (even diet soda) or other sugary drinks.
On the other hand, if you don’t think medications are to blame (and you’ve even considered any you take OTC) and are plenty hydrated, then you need to consider other possibilities. Therefore, be sure to bring this up to your dentist, and he or she can help you figure it out and get it taken care of right away.
Your Breath is NOT GOOD
Bad breath is one of those things that we can’t always tell we have—unless it’s BAD. Most people with really atrocious breath realize it. Of course, like many of the other symptoms, it could be due to medications. Yet, most meds don’t produce breath that is extremely bad or noxious. If your breath is so bad that you are noticing it, that’s likely a pretty good warning something else is wrong.
First, consider your general oral health as the most likely culprit is a build-up of bacteria. Are you visiting your dentist for thorough cleanings twice a year? Are you scraping any visible “gunk” off your tongue with a tongue scraper periodically? Are you using an anti-bacterial mouthwash? If you get to the point where you believe (or have been told, Heaven forbid) you have constant BAD breath, brushing alone isn’t going to fix it. However, the other suggestions – along with a check with your dentist – should.
But other possible causes of longer-term, horrible, bad breath aren’t as easy to pinpoint—or treat. You could have a respiratory illness, sinus infection, or something more significant like a chronic illness or disease. Uncontrolled diabetes, reflux, and kidney failure can generate noxious breath. Interestingly, diabetes can also cause fruity-smelling breath if ketones are being released (a dangerous state for diabetes that is untreated).
The bottom line with these symptoms is that there are often simple answers or those that require more investigation and more aggressive treatment. However, in either case, your mouth – your dental care – will almost always give you clues when something else is going on in your body.
The Milwaukee family dental tips we have provided are not intended to be the end-all-be-all regarding diagnosis or specific treatment for any of these signs. If you notice anything unusual with your mouth or dental health that lasts for longer than a week, it’s probably a good idea to get it checked by your dentist. It’s always better safe than sorry, and we’re sure your dentist would say the same.