Brushing and flossing are part of your daily morning and evening routine. These habits are so second nature that it’s often easy to overlook signs that something may be amiss with your oral health. What’s important to know is that the condition of your mouth not only signals a needed trip to the dentist, the symptoms you’re experiencing may also warrant a trip to your general practitioner.
Here are five symptoms to pay attention to that, according to holistic dentistry, might indicate something bigger is happening with your overall health and well-being:
There are tooth stains caused by coffee, soda, wine, and other edibles, and then there are permanently discolored teeth. Professional teeth whitening can blast away surface tooth stains and give you a gleaming white smile. But teeth that are yellow, brown, or much darker and show no signs of responding to whitening treatments could be an indication of a deeper problem. Very dark spots might indicate a cavity. Red or blue tints that suddenly appear could mean a deep internal crack in the tooth – and, usually, tooth removal (then followed by a dental implant).
But grooves on the surface of the tooth along with discoloration could signal celiac disease. Once your primary health concern is tended to, your holistic dentist can still repair your stained smile with porcelain veneers or lumineers, which cover the tooth stains and give you a gorgeous, white, uniform smile.
Mouth sores are painful, annoying, and, depending on their location, really embarrassing. But mouth sores differ in severity. Canker sores or ulcers, which can appear inside or outside of the mouth, are often caused by stress, hormone changes, allergies, or nutritional deficiencies. Cold sores are fluid-filled sores, typically appearing on the lips, and are caused by the herpes simplex virus. They’re highly contagious, so hands off as they heal – it could take a week or two. Mouth sores that do not disappear after a few weeks, or that change in color or begin to swell, could be the sign of an autoimmune disease or even oral cancer.
It may be tempting to write off a one-time shooting pain in a tooth as an anomaly, but the pain may be an indication of something significant. If the pain you feel occurs when you chew or bite down, it could signal the presence of decay – and perhaps a full-blown cavity. Don’t let the pain continue for more than a few days before visiting your dentist.
Other aches in your teeth could be the sign of a sinus infection. Because the sinuses are located right above the upper roots of your top set of teeth, aches in this area may indicate clogged sinuses. Barring any other obvious dental problems, an x-ray can diagnose this problem for certain. Or, a visit to your general practitioner.
Sure, with aging can come problems like cracked teeth. After all, you use those teeth daily to bite and chew your food – they work hard, and even well-maintained equipment can wear out after a while. However, teeth that are suddenly cracking or crumbling could be indicative of a bigger systemic problem – namely, stress.
Teeth grinding is a common side effect of stress. Done long enough, often enough, and hard enough, this typically unconscious habit can cause teeth to crack. Because stress creates muscle tension in your jaw, you’re likely to clench your mouth, which can lead a damaged jaw joint, trouble closing your mouth or opening it wide, and headaches. A mouth guard can be custom-made to help protect your teeth, especially from grinding them at night. But your holistic dentist may also recommend greater care of your body and mind as a whole, with therapy or relaxation techniques.
No one wants dragon breath, but if you’ve brushed and flossed and done all you can after a garlic- and onion-heavy meal, it’s time to figure out what else could be causing your bad breath. When bacteria builds up in your mouth, your breath will, quite simply, stink. A toothbrush can only do so much – you need to floss daily too to get in the cracks and crevices to remove food particles, keep up with bi-annual preventive dental exams and cleanings, and use a tongue scraper to give it the proper cleansing.
When bad breath lingers even after diligent oral health care, then you may have post-nasal drip, gastric reflux, chronic dry mouth, and even kidney failure. And there is also the potential for diabetes if your breath isn’t bad but, rather, fruity. Biocompatibility testing can aid your holistic dentist in determining the next best steps for your health and well-being.
Suspicious about your oral health? Something not working quite the way it should? Visit holistic dentist Dr. Yolanda Cintron at the International Center for Dental Excellence. Make an appointment today to discuss your health and wellness.