The oral cavity is the gateway to the body and can tell a lot about your body’s overall health. It is not always obvious that your teeth and gums are not healthy, below are some signs and symptoms to look out for.
Absence of pain, sensitivity or discomfort during function
Brushing, flossing and chewing should not cause one to experience pain, discomfort or sensitivity with healthy teeth. These symptoms may be due to a cavity, fractured tooth or even an impacted tooth. Lingering discomfort and sensitivity to hot, cold and sweet foods are usually a sign that there is some dental treatment required.
Teeth that are not cracked, broken, or discoloured.
Cracked and broken teeth may be caused by decay or biting on excessively hard foods or objects or grinding one’s teeth. This may lead to pain and sensitivity. Teeth that have chalky white, brown or black discolourations may be early signs of decay. Teeth that are dark or grey in colour may be a sign that the nerve of the tooth has died, commonly after trauma to the tooth.
No food traps.
Food constantly getting lodged between your teeth may be a sign that there are cavities between your teeth. If you constantly need to use floss or toothpick after a meal you may need some restorations.
Sturdy teeth and restorations.
Healthy teeth should not be loose. If your teeth are loose, it could indicate the presence of infection or periodontitis (untreated gum disease that has progressed to the bone). Fillings and other dental restorations such as crowns and bridges should all be stable and not loose. Loose restorations will allow for ingress of bacteria and decay beneath over time.
Firm pink gums
The gums are a very important part of the oral cavity. They should be pink, firm and pain-free and not bleed when brushing or flossing.
Neutral smelling breath
A healthy mouth should have breath with a neutral smell. The presence of odour is indicative of infection, cavities or systemic diseases such as diabetes.
Regular dental visits
It is highly recommended to visit the dentist every 6 months. Decay and cracks in the teeth may not always be visible to the naked eye, and early signs of decay may have no pain or symptoms. Dental X-rays assist with diagnosing areas of concern and treating them before they become larger and painful.