Wednesday, October 5, 2016

5 Sneaky Dental Issues That Might Mean Big Trouble

You know all about the importance of brushing your teeth, as well as your kids' teeth. But the benefits aren't limited to your pearly whites. "Many physicians and dentists consider the mouth to be a window into the general health of the patient," says Scott Froum, D.D.S., a board-certified periodontist based in New York City. Our experts Dr. Froum and Sally Cram, D.D.S., a dentist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association, broke down five tooth-, gum- and tongue-related issues that could mean you've got a much bigger problem on your hands:

1. Consistent bad breath

Aside from scaring away friends and family, your not-so-minty-fresh breath could be an early sign of gum disease, says Dr. Cram. Gum disease is particularly sneaky because it doesn't cause pain in its early stages, so most people who have it may not realize it until lots o' damage has already been done. Luckily, it doesn't involve some torturous procedure to reverse. Just put a little more time and effort into brushing and flossing daily.

2. Red, swollen or bleeding gums

If your gums continue to swell or bleed despite your best brushing and flossing efforts, our experts say there's a possibility you could be dealing with diabetes. So, if your pesky gum problems persist and you're noticing other diabetes symptoms like extreme thirst or hunger, fatigue or blurry vision, go see your doc ASAP.

3. Stubborn tongue pain

Obviously if you down hot soup too fast or bite your tongue it's going to be a little sore, but prolonged pain in the tongue or throat (more than two weeks) is one of the most common early signs of oral cancer, says Dr. Cram. Next steps: Monitor those symptoms and look out for any sores, lumps or lesions that won't disappear. Pass that two week mark and to the doctor you go.

4. Spots or sores out of the blue

If clusters of tiny white spots have started popping up around your lower molars — womp, womp — you might have a viral infection in your near future, Dr. Froum says. Called "Koplik spots," these little sores have developed a reputation as a highly predictive sign of measles. Tack on other symptoms like a fever, cough or runny nose, and you may be a few days away from that itchy measles rash. (Alas, you guessed it, a doctor's visit is required.)

5. Hefty tooth discoloration

As tempted as you might be to blame yellow teeth on your coffee addiction, you might be looking at the wrong culprit: If your teeth have turned a shade of black or brown, it could mean you're dealing with some deep-rooted tooth decay, Dr. Froum says. The solve: You might need to get a cavity filled — or (shudder) undergo a root canal treatment.
 
 
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Omni Dental Group at one of our three office locations listed below:

North Austin on Hymeadow Drive: (512) 250-5012
Central Austin on Jollyville Road: (512) 346-8424
South Austin on William Cannon: (512) 445-5811

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