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03 June 2023

Poor oral health can lead to big health issues


While we are focused on doing regular health checks, most of us are guilty of ignoring our dental health. And, that, health experts insist isn’t good.

Dental health deserves as much, if not more importance, as it could lead to other health conditions. Health experts insist that a trip to the dentist should be scheduled for once every year, to ensure everything is in order. They add that brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentists can ensure your teeth are in good health.

We look at 5 warning signs that could lead to other complications.

1. A spot or sore that doesn’t heal

Ulcers in your mouth that don’t heal can indicate diabetes. If there’s a wound in the mouth that doesn’t heal in a week or two, it’s time to visit your dentist, and your GP to get your blood sugar levels tested.

Spots or sores in the mouth can appear as white areas called leukoplakia or red lesion called erythroplakia. In more serious cases, these lesions may be linked to oral cancers.

Watch out for additional symptoms like ear pain, hoarseness, jaw swelling, numbness in the tongue or throat area, trouble moving jaw or tongue or trouble swallowing.

2. Bleeding or swollen gums

If you spot blood while brushing your teeth, it could be a warning sign. Healthy gums do not bleed unless you cut them while brushing harshly. Gums hold the teeth in place, and create a barrier between tooth roots, nerves and blood vessels.

Bleeding or swollen gums can indicate periodontal or gum disease. This suggests there’s bacteria in your mouth that is causing inflammation. Ask your dentist to check your gum and teeth health.

3. Bad breath

Sometimes bad breath can indicate what you ate last night, or that you need to drink more water, but chronic bad breath indicates dental cavities, gum disease, dry mouth, tobacco products, and infections in the mouth, nose, and throat.

4. Sensitivity to hot and cold

Sudden, increased temperature sensitivity is a symptom of dental abscess, which is a bacterial infection of a tooth or the gum next to a tooth root. Additional symptoms include severe toothache, fever, or tender lymph nodes under your jawline or in your neck. If you have facial swelling too, seek emergency care. If left untreated, the infection can spread throughout your body and become life-threatening.

5. Pain

Pain can indicate your mouth is not healthy. While the pain may go away, it’s likely to return. Make an appointment with your dentist to ensure it doesn’t recur.

Tips for a healthy mouth

practicing good preventive dental hygiene can go a long way towards protecting your mouth and your overall health. Here are some steps you can start taking today:

Brush your teeth twice per day.

Floss at least once per day.

Maintain a healthy diet.

Schedule cleanings and exams as recommended by your dentist.

Brush your tongue.

Use fluoride treatments and mouth rinses.