9 Dental Warning Signs


American workers miss more than 164 million work hours annually and kids miss over 51 million school hours due to dental health problems. Oral pain can occur for a variety of reasons. WebMD provides a list of warning signs you should not ignore:

  1. Canker sores – A common problem, canker sores aren’t a problem unless they don’t heal or they’re accompanied by a fever. Contact your dentist for assistance.
  2. White spots on teeth – This may signal that the enamel is breaking down and decay is occurring.
  3. Sensitivity to temperatures – If teeth react to hot or cold temperatures, contact your dentist as this may be an indication of oral health issues, such as decay.
  4. Swollen gums – When gums are swollen, red or sore to the touch, this may be a sign that plaque has accumulated under the gumline, a condition known as gingivitis, and in the advanced stages, periodontitis. Schedule an appointment to see your dentist.
  5. Color changes in the mouth – Healthy tissues in the mouth should be a pinky-red color. If you notice a different color on top of, or under, your tongue or inside your cheeks, contact your dentist.
  6. Metallic taste and bad breath – Two other signs of gingivitis and periodontitis are bad breath and a distinct taste of metal in the mouth. Brush your teeth regularly and, if the problem persists, contact your dentist.
  7. Dryness – As people age, they may generate less saliva and experience problems with dry mouth. It’s also a condition that occurs with some prescription medications. Discuss the problem with your dentist to identify the cause and treatment options.
  8. Headaches – Many people grind their teeth at night due to stress, but they may not be aware of it. Teeth grinding causes the jaw to clench and create tension headaches. If you experience headaches for no apparent reason, ask your dentist to check your bite and look for signs of grinding.
  9. Painful teeth – People who experience tooth pain look for quick solutions to resolve the problem. This pain may be an indication of decay and should be treated promptly by your dentist.

Take the brief Healthy Mouth Evaluator quiz from Web MD to see how your oral health measures up.