No part of your body acts as a better early warning system for potential health problems than your mouth. Approximately nine out of 10 diseases can cause symptoms that manifest in your mouth. Yet despite the early warning your mouth can provide for serious underlying health issues, many people tend to ignore oral health problems assuming the issue will eventually go away.
When practicing quality oral hygiene at home, you also need to pay close attention for any new problems that may arise with your oral health. Any new symptoms could be a sign of a more serious underlying health problem going on with your body. With that in mind, here are a few oral health symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.
Jaw and Mouth Pain
In addition to symptoms like cold sores, mouth and jaw pain are usually stress induced. Built up stress can contribute to a variety of mental and physical issues, including teeth grinding, which can cause chronic jaw pain. By consulting with your dentist, you can identify the source of your jaw pain, which could also be caused by easily treatable condition like gum disease, sinus problems, and a toothache.
However, it’s important to note that jaw pain or discomfort can also be a sign that you are experiencing a heart attack. While jaw pain related to stress builds slowly overtime, any immediate or sudden jaw pain should be taken seriously. Knowing the signs of a heart attack and taking the appropriate action could help save your life or that of a loved one.
Sore and Bleeding Gums
If your gums bleed or persistently ache, it could be a sign of gum disease that has started to progress. Individuals who have an underlying health issue such as diabetes, which lowers the body’s ability to fight off infection, often develop more serious forms of gum disease. This places your gums at risk of inflammation due to the bacteria that grows in plaque, a stick biofilm comprised of bacteria and food particles. Other oral symptoms of diabetes can include oral fungal infections, fruity smelling breath, and dry mouth.
Lost or Loose Teeth
If not due to a sporting accident or facial trauma, unexpected tooth loss is generally a sign of gum disease. However, tooth loss can also be an early warning sign of osteoporosis, which causes a decrease in bone density, resulting in your bones becoming more brittle.
A number of studies have found links between bone loss in the jaw, which helps to hold your teeth in place, and osteoporosis. When osteoporosis attacks the jaw, tooth loss becomes especially common in seniors. Roughly one-third of all seniors over the age 65 will experience some tooth loss.
While osteoporosis affects roughly 10 million Americans, the disease often goes undiagnosed until a person suffers a broken bone or fracture. Women who suffer from osteoporosis are three times more likely to suffer from tooth loss than women who don’t have the disease.
Fortunately, by scheduling regular visits with a dentist, you can receive an early diagnosis for the disease and receive treatment before any serious injury occurs.
Lumps, Patches, or Mouth Sores
While unusual patches or sores in the mouth usually indicated nothing more than the development of a canker sore, unusual lesions in the mouth can also signify an early sign of oral cancer.
Oral cancer ranks as on the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the U.S., and often first appears as a small red spot or white lesion in the mouth. Individuals who smoke or who use any type of tobacco product have the highest risk of developing oral cancer. Early signs of oral cancer can include:
- Bleeding sores that never heal
- Rough areas or hard spots in the mouth
- Gum tissue discoloration
- Shifting teeth
- Numb spots along the gums or cheeks
- Irregular tissue or lumps in the head, neck, cheeks, or mouth
When caught early, oral cancer has a very high recovery rate. However, during the disease’s early stages, oral cancer can go completely unnoticed by the untrained eye. If you develop any strange lesions in your mouth, don’t attempt to self diagnosis, and schedule an appointment with your dentist instead.
Don’t wait to take care of your oral health. Call your Sunnyside dentist of choice 503-558-9828 to or click here to schedule your next appointment at Sunnyside Dentistry.