April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. While oral cancer isn’t a topic that most people…
Most of us know that we should see our Overland Park dentist twice a year for our bi-annual checkup and cleaning. We also know other reasons to call the dentist: tooth pain, swollen or inflamed gums, any injury to the mouth, sensitive teeth, dry mouth, persistent cold sores or canker sores, and even jaw pain. There are plenty of other reasons that you might want to schedule a visit with your dentist sooner rather than later, however, and you might not be aware of some of them. Here are a few that may surprise you:
1. You’re experiencing acid reflux. Acid reflux and other, similar conditions can have a number of unpleasant symptoms, but most of us don’t think about how it can affect our dental health. In fact, stomach acids can sometimes actually reach as far as the mouth, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay and other periodontal problems. Fortunately, your Overland Park dentist can help suggest changes that can reduce acid reflux and the dangers that come with it.
2. You’re noticing a persistent bad taste in your mouth. It isn’t just a bad taste, either. Bad breath that doesn’t go away, even when you brush, floss, and use a mouthwash or rinse, can be an indicator of a more serious problem, from dry mouth to bacterial overgrowth to an infection, all of which can be treated by your dentist.
3. You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. Both Type I and Type II diabetes bring a number of changes along with them. In addition to seeing your doctor, you should discuss these diagnoses with your dentist, as patients with diabetes are at higher risk for gingivitis and gum disease.
4. You’re pregnant. The shifting hormone levels that come with pregnancy can affect just about every part of your body, including your mouth. Morning sickness can potentially erode tooth enamel, but you may also find that your gums are red or swollen. While this is probably nothing to be alarmed about, it’s still a good idea to chat with your dentist about any change, and pregnancy, well, that’s a big change, indeed!
5. You find yourself suddenly suffering from migraines. Did you know that teeth grinding, which is sometimes called bruxism, is a leading cause of migraines? Many people don’t. Teeth grinding puts strain on the temporomandibular joints, which are located on either side of your head, up near your ears. This strain can cause headaches and even migraines, but your Overland Park dentist can help.
6. There’s been a change in your medications. Anytime you change medications, you should let your healthcare providers know. There are a number of medications that can cause oral side-effects, including dry mouth. These can include blood pressure and heart medications as well as antidepressants, decongestants, and diuretics. Work with your doctor and dentist to ensure that the medications you’re taking are right for your situation.
7. You’re facing other medical issues. Ultimately, your healthcare providers should be a unified team that helps care for your overall health. As such, let your dentist know if you’re experiencing a medical condition or undergoing some type of medical treatment. The more we know, the better we can help safeguard your health.
Of course, the best ways to safeguard your dental health are to brush and floss regularly and see your Overland Park dentist at least twice a year and any time you have questions or concerns. Just call Watts Family Dental at (913) 338-3384 to schedule an appointment or chat with a member of our friendly staff!