When you visit your Louisville dentistry, you can expect to receive the best, most comprehensive dental care possible. Your oral health matters more than just ensuring strong teeth and healthy gums as numerous studies have actually shown links between an individual’s oral and overall health.
While your mouth can remind you what you had for lunch or provide a status update on the state of your breath, it can also alert you to problems that go much deeper. In fact, in many ways your mouth acts like a barometer that provides a pretty clear indication of how things are going on in the rest of your body, but only if you know how to read the signs.
With that in mind, here are four oral signs you should never ignore as they could signal a much more serious problem.
You Suddenly Develop Numerous Cavities
If you’ve enjoyed a mostly cavity free life, but your latest checkup at your Louisville dentistry reveals that you now have multiple cavities, something might be wrong. Assuming you haven’t started drinking a massive amount of soda a day or have started any new medication, the tooth decay you’re now experiencing could be a sign that your body is having trouble processing glucose, a major indication of diabetes. For many diabetics who have trouble maintaining their glucose levels, the sugars they consume can build up in saliva and spur the growth of cavity-causing bacteria that thrive in the mouth. It’s also common for diabetics to develop tooth sensitivity, especially when eating or drinking hot or cold items.
Tooth decay isn’t the only oral symptom of diabetes. Oral thrush, dry mouth, and gum disease are also potential indicators for diabetes. If you develop any of these symptoms, you need to have your oral health assessed for the potential signs of diabetes by your Louisville dentist.
Your Teeth Have Begun Wearing Down
Millions of people suffer from heart burn. However, if you experience frequent bouts of heartburn for more than two weeks, you may be suffering from Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that causes stomach acid to travel up the esophagus and into the mouth. While most people with GERD suffer from a “burning” sensation in their throat or chest, others don’t show any symptoms of the condition.
In addition to the discomfort typically caused by GERD, the condition also poses a threat to your oral health. When stomach acid travels up to the mouth, it can erode tooth enamel. In most cases, the tooth erosion caused by GERD occurs on the tongue side of the teeth. While you might not notice the erosion that has occurred, your Louisville dentist will be able to spot the damage during a routine exam. If you’re diagnosed with GERD, you may need to take prescription medications, antacids, and make dietary changes to avoid any symptoms.
Your Gums Bleed After Brushing
Unless you’ve just started flossing or have a tendency to brush with too much force, blood in the sink after brushing could indicate inflammation of your gum tissue caused by a buildup of tartar along the gum line. Gum inflammation is the result of gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into the far more serious periodontitis, a condition that causes gums to recede from the base of your teeth and the formation of pockets that can become infected. Research has also linked gum disease with a variety of serious long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes, and colon cancer.
If you suffer from bleeding gums, gums that have become tender, or gums that have become swollen, you need to have your oral health assessed by your Louisville dentist. Gum disease can have a lasting impact on your oral and overall health and needs to be taken very seriously.
Your Tongue Developed White Spots
White patches on your tongue can be a symptom of oral thrush, an infection caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida. While not a very common condition, individuals who suffer from dry mouth, diabetes, or a compromised immune system have a higher risk of developing the infection. Additional signs of thrush include trouble swallowing, redness of the tongue, or cracked skin along the corners of the mouth. If you develop thrush, you’ll be prescribed an antifungal medication at our Louisville dentistry.