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Seven signs you need to visit the dentist

Cover Media logo Cover Media 16/10/2019
There could be a number of reasons why you need to visit your dentist There could be a number of reasons why you need to visit your dentist

People will good oral health are advised to visit the dentist every 12 to 24 months for a standard check-up.

But there are plenty of reasons why you should go to see a dental professional in between those times. Dr. Reena Wadia, gum specialist at RW Perio, has outlined the seven warning signs you should keep an eye out for. Here's her advice:

1. Bleeding gums

Bleeding gums are not normal. Bleeding is like an alarm bell - it is a way of your body telling you that something isn't quite right. We wouldn't ignore bleeding from another part of our body, right? Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing are usually the first signs of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis.

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2. Big swollen gums

Medication often taken for high blood pressure, epilepsy or after a transplant can cause the gums to overgrow in the presence of plaque. Often, your dentist or gum specialist can liaise with your GP to substitute the medication to something which doesn't have such an unpleasant side effect. It's important to address this, as overgrown gums are difficult to clean, and this will increase your risk of gum disease.

3. Gum pigmentation

There are two general conditions where the pigmentation of the gums is a key sign. Addison's disease is a disorder that stops the adrenal glands from producing enough hormones and as this disease progresses, a person may experience pigmentation or darkening of the gums. Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is a genetic condition that can increase the risk of developing polyps or cancer. One of the early symptoms is the appearance of dark blue or dark brown freckles.

Bad breath affects one-third of the population © Getty Bad breath affects one-third of the population

4. Flat teeth

Tooth-grinding, which can lead to worn down flat teeth, is often related to stress or anxiety. Most people who grind their teeth aren't aware they're doing it... As well as flat teeth, this is often associated with headaches and jaw pain. If you are grinding in the night, your dentist may make you a mouthguard to help reduce this or at least prevent the damage caused by it. 

5. Translucent shiny teeth

Translucent shiny teeth are usually due to 'dental erosion', which is caused by acid wearing away the enamel part of the tooth. The teeth can also start to chip and look more yellow. The acid can be from diet, but it can also be internal acid coming up from the stomach due to acid reflux.

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6. Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers are painful sores that appear in the mouth. They can be white, red, yellow or grey in colour and swollen. Stress and anxiety are a common trigger for many individuals. Mouth ulcers can sometimes be caused by certain medical conditions, such as: viral infections, vitamin B12 or iron deficiency, Crohn's disease, Coeliac disease, weakened immune system, or Behcet's disease.

7. Bad breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, affects one-third of the population. Concerns about halitosis are estimated to be the third most frequent reason for seeking dental care. The two most common causes of halitosis are a tongue coating and gum disease.

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