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new westminster oral health

Oral Health in New Westminster: Which Symptoms Shouldn’t be Ignored?

No oral symptom should be ignored – ever! Every oral health symptom is a warning that something abnormal is happening in the oral cavity and, if that warning isn’t heeded, it could lead to something far more serious. The important thing to be aware of here is that what happens in the mouth is not just limited to the teeth and gums – and far too many people aren’t aware of that fact. Because many oral health issues, such as gum disease and infected root canals, can dramatically affect overall health, not to pay attention to the early oral warning signs is to literally put your overall health at risk. So let’s look at some of the more common oral symptoms you should know about.

Pain – pain of any kind; mild, moderate, severe, occasional, sharp, aching, dull, deep – is not normal and is an indication that something is wrong, possibly seriously wrong. Pain can be an indicator of decay, a possible root canal infection, an abscess, a jaw infection, or gum disease. Pain is a wake-up call and even if it goes away you should make an appointment and have it diagnosed by a dentist. (Exceptions to this is if you bite your tongue or lip, or eat something that is too hot and burns your lips or palate.)

Sensitivity – to heat, cold, acidic foods, even brushing is another warning sign that should not go unattended. It can indicate decay, exposed root surfaces due to gum recession, a leaky filling, and even gum disease.

Bleeding – a little, a lot, occasionally, consistently, only when brushing or flossing and eating, or for no apparent reason – isn’t normal and never should be considered to be so. Bleeding is usually an indicator of gum disease but can indicate other oral problems, such as an abscess. As with any oral symptom, the determination of its cause and severity should always be done by a dentist. Self-diagnosis should never be attempted by the patient nor should the dental appointment be put off.

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Swelling – any lumps, or bumps, ridges, pimples, or any other type of swelling – anywhere in the oral cavity (lips, gums, or any other area of the mouth and face) is definitely a warning signal. There could be many causes of this and only the dentist can diagnose it. This should be dealt with ASAP.

Ulcerations and Discolorations – any ulceration, discoloration, redness, or sore spot on the lips, tongue, inside of the mouth, face or neck must be considered as not normal and checked out by a dentist, especially if it doesn’t resolve itself within 10 days to two-weeks. (For example, an ulceration such as herpes may show up suddenly, heal itself within two-weeks and may not need to be treated by a dentist.) There could be many causes to consider, some benign but others could be much more serious. This is not a symptom to put off until tomorrow!

Loss of Feeling – loss of feeling in any area of your mouth or face can be cause for concern as it could indicate nerve damage. This must be looked at by a dentist immediately.

Persistent Coughing or Difficulty in Swallowing – Either, or both, of these symptoms could be related to an oral health issue but could also be an indicator of a more serious medical issue. This should be dealt with by a dentist or a health practitioner if it persists for more than a week and there doesn’t seem to be an obvious cause, such as a cold.

Other Diseases of the Mouth – There are over 20 other health/medical issues whose early signs and symptoms can be found in the oral cavity. These can range from a drug reaction to serious cancers, such as oral cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, and leukemia. Any of the symptoms listed above could also be related to a medical problem and you should be acutely aware that any oral symptom, whether listed here or not, that appears and stays should be examined by a dentist and if necessary referred to the proper medical specialist. Early detection of these signs is also the reason why everyone, even if free of dental disease, should have a complete oral examination at least once a year.

Oral Health Problems without Symptoms

Please don’t think that if you don’t have an oral symptom you don’t have an oral problem! There are also a number of oral health problems that can exist even before a recognizable symptom appears. Far too many people believe that they couldn’t possibly have an existing oral problem if an observable symptom doesn’t manifest itself. This belief has led to an untold number of dental emergencies that could have easily been avoided by regular dental check-ups. The main thing to consider here is that many oral health problems may reach a serious stage before a symptom appears, such as pain.

For example, in many people decay can progress deeper into the tooth before pain shows up. So can gum disease and an infected root canal, even an abscess. Thus, while you should be aware of the various signs and symptoms of oral problems – if you wait for them to appear you could be putting your teeth and overall health at risk – unnecessarily.

Of course if a symptom appears, or whether it comes and goes, or seems to have gone away (however minor you think it is), you must schedule an appointment to have it professionally diagnosed and treated. If you are one of the tens of millions who haven’t had regular dental check-ups you cannot afford to wait until an emergency situation is created. For those of you who have put off regular dental treatment –  for whatever reason – the only way you are going to be able to know what is going on in your mouth and catch something before it becomes serious, is to schedule an examination with the dentist.

Prevention – Prevention – Prevention

People find many reasons for putting off going to the dentist. Fear, no time, the expense, and a host of other seemingly legitimate reasons. Yet there is no doubt that no matter what excuse you use, the longer you put off a dental examination, or treatment for any existing problems, the more it will end up costing you in time, suffering and money! Given the direct relationship of oral health to overall health – the medical costs incurred because of untreated oral health issues will only add to the total cost. There can be no doubt; ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!’

Do your mouth a favour and book an appointment with Sapperton Dental Clinic where our highly skilled dental professionals can examine your oral cavity and make recommendations so you can have a healthier mouth. Our Dentist and Dental Office is located in Fresno, CA. To schedule your next appointment, please call: (604) 544 0894.

Educational Video for your Kids

oral health in new westminster

Can Oral Health affect Other Health Issues?

Oral health can no longer be separated from overall health. Unless you are free of dental disease, particularly gum disease – and the other oral health issues that harm overall health – you can never be truly healthy.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can increase the risk and severity of many more serious health problems, including heart disease. Thus, you must be clear about this; the effect of dental disease on overall health is far more serious than its relationship to teeth and gums. In fact, moderate to severe gum disease can;

  • Severely stress the immune system
  • Lower resistance to other infections
  • Increase the severity of diabetes
  • Contribute to respiratory disease
  • Contribute to low preterm birth weights
  • Interfere with proper digestion
  • Actually reduce life expectancy

If gum disease is not acknowledged as an obstacle to achieving overall health, any efforts to treat other existing diseases, improve health, and extend life will not be effective and will fall short of desired goals. Every person who cares about his or her health and every dentist in New Westminster, BC who wants to successfully treat patients must understand this important relationship. The reality is that ‘you cannot be healthy without healthy gums and teeth!’

Other Oral Health Issues that can Harm Overall Health

Along with amalgam fillings and gum disease, there are other oral health issues that can negatively affect systemic health, including:

  1. Infected root canals
  2. Jawbone infections
  3. Non-biocompatible dental materials

The impact of these oral health issues on overall health is determined by the seriousness and duration of each, and how many are present in an individual.

The fact is that is that a large percentage of the population is affected by some, or all of the above oral health problems. For example, an individual could have periodontal disease (the most serious form of gum disease), suffer from chronic mercury poisoning, have an infection from a failed root canal, a jawbone infection, and allergic reaction to dental materials – all present at the same time. Of course, many variables exist, as someone can have advanced gum disease and only have a few amalgam fillings. In that scenario, the effects of gum disease on overall health would be much greater than the effects of mercury. I’m sure you can imagine all of the possibilities that exist – none of them good.

But what is important to consider here is that if you are dealing with any, some, or all of the oral health issues that can damage overall health you should let your New Westminster dentist know about them as he or she may be looking for other causes of your health problems than those related to these oral health issues. That can be frustrating for both you and your dentist. Although there is no way of knowing exactly how much these oral health issues are contributing to your medical problems but that isn’t the point – as there is no doubt they are contributing to them to some degree. If you want to do all you can to improve your oral and overall health it means that you will have to take the necessary steps to work with your dental office in New Westminster, BC to eliminate these oral health problems and repair the damage done by them.