It is common knowledge that a visit to the dentist twice a year is necessary for good oral health. However, most of us procrastinate for some reason or the other till such visit is restricted to emergency situations. Nevertheless, there are several common oral health signs which indicate that a visit to your dentist is imminent. Never ignore such indications as timely diagnosis by dentists can prevent several complicated and expensive conditions that can severely affect your overall health if left untreated.
This is perhaps the most common and most neglected oral health sign. Also known as halitosis, almost everybody has suffered from bad breath at some point in their life without attaching too much importance to it. However, prolonged bad breath is a health condition that indicates the presence of some serious ailment lurking underneath. Persistent bad breath can indicate simple cavity and gum disease (gingivitis) to more complicated gastrointestinal/renal/hepatic disorders or even life-threatening oral cancer. Only a qualified dentist has the knowledge and expertise to identify the right cause and offer remedy.
Plaque and tartar are other common indications that you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Plaque is the dark ugly deposit that is commonly seen over the teeth while tartar is a calcareous deposit at the base of teeth. Plaque is sticky in nature and combines with sugar and starch to form an acidic deposit that gradually erodes the enamel covering of your teeth. Plaques and tartar make your teeth look dirty and you should visit your dentist periodically in order to remove them through scaling and polishing.
Tooth decay or caries is a condition that affects both children and adults. Caries is actually a bacterial infection that leads to decay and slow erosion of the affected teeth. It is caused by gradual accumulation of bacteria in between teeth. The bacteria secrete acid during fermentation of food debris stuck in between your teeth. If left untreated, caries gradually eats away the hard tissues of the teeth such as dentin, cementum and enamel. Over time, the affected tooth will be almost worn out and your dentist will extract it in order to prevent the injection from affecting the adjacent healthy teeth.
This is another condition that will require a visit to the dentist. Sensitive teeth or painful teeth is a condition wherein you feel a distinct pain every time you eat something hot or cold. You can also feel a discomfort every time you rinse your mouth after brushing or flushing or even while breathing in cold air through the mouth. In extreme cases, sensitive tooth results in a sharp intolerable pain at the nerve endings and extracting it may be the only option left with your dentist.
Bleeding gums are an indication of gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis can result due to prolonged accumulation of plaque around the gum line. Without timely removal, the plaque hardens to form tartar which further aggravates the condition. However, bleeding gums can also indicate diabetes wherein the normal body immunity is compromised and the gums bleed even from gentle bruising (such as during regular brushing). Only a dentist can identify the actual cause and suggest appropriate remedies.
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