If you're like a third of American adults, you don't see the dentist regularly. Even if your teeth feel and look just fine, it may be time for a dental appointment. Here are signs you're in need of dental care.
Your Gums Bleed When You Brush
Bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease, which is prevalent among American adults - according to the CDC nearly half of adults suffer from gum disease at one point in their lives. If your gums bleed when brushing your teeth, gum disease is often the culprit. Look for these other signs of gum disease before you make an appointment with your dentist:
- Swollen gums
- Discolored (bright red, black, or purple) gums
- Foul breath
- Pain in gums
Gum disease is often treated with special cleanings called periodontal cleanings. Without care, your teeth are at risk of becoming loose and gum recession is likely, so don't ignore any possible signs of gum disease.
Your Teeth Are Heavily Stained
Discolored teeth is caused by many factors, including age, what you eat or drink, and even tobacco use. If your teeth are heavily stained, you not only have a cosmetic problem to worry about but also declining tooth enamel to be concerned about as well.
Dentin, the hard surface that the enamel protects, is what gets stained with years of dental abuse. If only a few of your teeth appear to be discolored or your teeth are gray or a dark brown in appearance, dental decay or even tooth death is a concern. To protect your tooth enamel and to find out if professional teeth whitening will work for you, speak to your dentist.
Your Teeth Randomly Hurt
If your teeth only hurt every now and then when you bite down on hard foods, consume very hot or very cold things, or when you chew gum, you may not think you have a dental problem. In reality, a cracked or chipped tooth or worn tooth enamel can cause random tooth pain.
If you fail to see your dentist to diagnose what is causing your random tooth pain, you can put your oral health at risk. Sometimes a cavity rarely hurts at all when it's mild, so don't assume little tooth pain means dental decay isn't a concern.
Your Fillings Are Older
The average filling only lasts up to around 12 years, so if your fillings are older, they will eventually fail to protect your teeth. Even if your fillings are secure and don't appear to be eroding, you should have them inspected by your dentist. If a filling falls out, the gap in your tooth exposes nerves and tooth tissue to air and bacteria, which can cause tooth rot or death.
Your Last Dental Visit Was Years Ago
If it's been years since you've seen the dentist, it's time to make an appointment. The older you get, the more susceptible your teeth are to decay and loss. Since most adults aged 20 to 64 have only 24 of their original teeth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH), you can preserve your smile longer by making regular dental appointments part of your oral health care routine.
Seeing the dentist on a regular basis is good for your overall health. If your teeth are in generally healthy condition, your dentist may recommend a visit only once per year.
The right dentist will get you on track to better oral health, no matter how long it's been since your last cleaning or X-ray. See our dental professionals at University Dental PA for many of your oral health care needs. Make an appointment or stop by our office today.