A major reason dentists strongly recommend making appointments every 6 months is because many symptoms of oral health problems are hard to spot on your own. It’s not always as simple as, say, ongoing toothaches or teeth shifting out of place. There are other symptoms that do not involve severe pain or a blatant change in appearance that can be seen in the mirror.

Making these symptoms even easier to ignore is the fact that they seem normal, especially for people of a certain age. But as your dentist will tell you, even the slightest problem can be a sign of a potentially serious condition.

The 4 Most Commonly Overlooked Oral Health Problems

Bad Breath

Some people are naturally plagued with particularly bad breath, which becomes increasingly noticeable as you get older, like body odor. Maybe you have a taste for pungent cuisine or tend to drink alcohol a little more than you should, giving your bad breath an excuse.

But bad breath can be an early sign of conditions like liver disease, kidney disease, advanced gum disease or diabetes. It’s difficult, however, to know that your breath is worse than the average person of your age and lifestyle if you don’t brush and floss at least twice a day.

If your breath remains just as bad despite a consistent dental care routine, your dentist might recommend a tongue scraper. Only after brushing, flossing and tongue scraping have failed might you know that you are at risk for one of the aforementioned conditions.

Dry Mouth

Like bad breath, dry mouth is something that is often mistaken as a natural part of getting older or a certain lifestyle. You might have become used to having a dry mouth because you don’t drink that much water throughout the day or are taking a medication that may cause it.

This is why the best way to truly ascertain whether or not your mouth is producing too little saliva is to ask your dentist or go for a check-up. Your dentist will quickly be able to tell if you should increase your consumption of liquids or try a saliva substitute.

A lack of saliva prevents bacteria from being washed away, which could lead to cavities or gum disease. Dry mouth is also a common sign of diabetes, scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis.

Sensitivity To Hot And Cold Food Or Beverages

Oral health problems are often linked to personal lifestyle choices such as drinking and smoking.

Oral health problems are often linked to personal lifestyle choices such as drinking and smoking.

So you’re eating ice cream and it stings a little. No big deal, right? But then you start to feel pain while eating hot food as well. Increased sensitivity to either type of food or beverage is a sign of cavities or bruxism (teeth grinding), both of which are fairly easy to alleviate.

The combination of a night guard and regular exercise will trim your teeth grinding habit, since it is usually triggered by stress. But if the pain from hot or cold foods or liquids is almost too painful to bear, it could be a symptom of enamel decay.

The nerves at the center of tooth become decayed and therefore more sensitive, making it very painful to eat. So even if you think it’s just a cavity, call your dentist in the event that you develop sensitivity to hot and cold foods.

Snoring

Everybody snores, right? And even if you do, how are you supposed to know unless someone else is sleeping in the same room?

Learn more: Poor Oral Health and Physical Frailty

Much like the three previous symptoms, snoring is only considered completely harmless if it doesn’t reach a level of extremity. Excessive snoring could be an indication of sleep apnea, which causes the airway to close as you sleep deeply. Your dentist could have a mandibular advancement device made for you, allowing your airway to stay open so the snoring stops.

Do you have one of these oral health problems?

If you are affected by one of these problems but aren’t sure about the severity, you’ll get all the answers you need with just a single trip to the dentist. In addition to identifying oral health problems, your dentist can tell if you are at risk of more serious conditions from a simple dental exam.

It’s important to remember that just because you are experiencing these problems doesn’t mean you are inevitably going to face their worst potential outcomes. Chances are, if you bring them to your dentist’s attention as early as possible, you won’t have to worry about facing any of their consequences again!

Read next: Oral Health: What Does It Encompass?

drinking water plays a key role in preserving your teeth

Drinking water plays a key role in preserving your teeth.

Most people want an attractive smile. It is usually the first thing that someone notices. Following a solid dental care routine that is filled with brushing and flossing is important. However, drinking water plays a key role in preserving your teeth, and it brings many oral health benefits.

Keep Stains Away

Certain foods and beverages, including coffee, wine, and berries, cause discoloration of your tooth enamel. Staining can dampen your smile and cause your pearly whites to look dingy.

Regular hydration helps dilute the items so that they do not cause a negative reaction in your mouth. When you consume anything that leads to staining, it is advised to drink and rinse with water so that your mouth is properly flushed.

Prevent Cavities

When you eat a candy bar or a similar sweet treat, follow it with a glass of water.

When you eat a candy bar or a similar sweet treat, follow it with a glass of water.

Water is a helpful tool that keeps sugars and acids from harming your mouth. When you eat sugary foods, they turn into acids that eat at your enamel and cause cavities.

For example, when you eat a candy bar or a similar sweet treat, follow it with a glass of water. This is not a replacement for brushing your teeth, but it is a good way to eliminate acids that can have a devastating effect on your oral health.

Freshen Your Breath

Nothing is worse than the embarrassment of bad breath. When you are kissing your sweetheart or are in the middle of a meeting with an important client, the last thing you want to do is to worry about your breath.

When your mouth is dry, anaerobic bacteria is produced. This is common when you first wake up. If you frequently drink water throughout the day, your mouth stays moist, and the environment where bacteria thrives is eliminated. Also, this helps to get rid of leftover food that becomes trapped in the crevices of your mouth. This means that there is nothing for bacteria to feed upon.

Celebrate National Drink Water Week

pure, clean water

Our bodies need to stay hydrated.

May 7, 2017 kicks off “Drinking Water Week.” Most people know how the body needs to stay hydrated, but few comprehend the positive effects that it brings to your oral health.

After learning how water benefits you mouth, you will want to incorporate it into your daily activities. It is an easy way to keep your smile looking as beautiful as possible.

Read Next: Oral Health and Pot Use Concerns

garlic

Nature’s stinky little helper.

Russian penicillin. Italian perfume. The stinking rose. Whatever you might call it, garlic certainly has a long and fascinating history.

People have hailed it as a divine cure-all and a protective charm. Others have cursed it and associated it with the very footsteps of Satan himself.
Now, although no one seems to know how or why it began, it even has its own day. In honor of National Garlic Day – held annually on April 19 – let’s review the wonders of one of nature’s most fascinating plants.

The Peculiar History of Garlic

Among the first plants humans used, this humble plant has been around for virtually all of recorded history. Archaeologists have found the pungent, fleshy bulbs in ancient Egyptian pyramids and Greek temples.

Soldiers, warriors and athletes from Rome to China consumed garlic to boost their strength and vitality. Even as recently as World War II, people have sometimes used it to treat wounds. It’s even stood in as a substitute for penicillin – hence the “Russian penicillin” nickname.

Bad Breath, Better Health

A few thousand years ago, people ate garlic for a wide assortment of maladies. Your doctor probably won’t write a prescription for a clove of garlic today. However, its reputation for medicinal value lives on.

In fact, modern medicine has confirmed many of the properties first recognized by our ancestors. In particular, garlic has proven to be an excellent ally for oral health.

Learn more: Can dental problems cause health problems?

The stinking rose might give you a serious case of bad breath. Nevertheless, allicin – the compound it contains – is also a powerful antifungal and antimicrobial substance. It promotes a healthy mouth by preventing tooth decay. In addition, it attacks gum disease and inhibits the growth of all sorts of problematic microbes.

Using Garlic for a Healthy Mouth

Taking care of your teeth is one of the most important things we can do, and garlic is a powerful oral health aid. If you’d like to use it to help protect your teeth, there are a few options. For one, you can simply incorporate more into your normal diet.

You can also find supplements that offer many of the same benefits without the powerful odor. In addition to oral health, consuming more garlic may also lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and boost the immune system.

National Garlic Day

Considering its long and fascinating history and many health benefits, it should come as no surprise that this plant has its own day of celebration. No one seems to know who first created a national day to celebrate the stinking rose, or why it falls on April 19. However, there’s no question our odorous little friend is deserving of recognition.

Whether you’re seeking out its medicinal properties or you simply enjoy the taste, why not put a little more garlic in your life? Go ahead and take a bite – a healthy mouth awaits!

Read next: How To Keep Teeth Healthy and Strong