6 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Mouth (and What to Do About It!)
Your body has a way of sending you signals when it needs help. A headache is often the first indication of dehydration. Fatigue could be a sign of sleep apnea. As long as you pay attention to the messages your body provides, you can identify and reverse problems before they take control of your body.
Your oral health is no exception! We tend to think of our mouth as a separate entity from our body, but the truth is that oral health and general wellness are closely linked together. If you have an unhealthy mouth, these signals are trying to let you know.
Bad Breath… All Day Long!
Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, can develop for a few different reasons, but the main trigger is poor oral health.
As soon as you eat or drink, food particles breakdown all around your teeth. If you don’t brush and floss regularly to remove food remnants, they accumulate into a thick coating of plaque that spreads over your teeth, tongue, and gums. Odor-causing bacteria thrives inside this plaque and emits the foul odor we call “bad breath”.
Your eating habits have the power to reduce or aggravate bad breath because they directly influence the types of particles that cover your mouth until the next time you brush and floss.
Bad breath sounds like it would be easy to identify, but many people can’t assess the odor of their own mouths. If you suspect that halitosis is influencing your oral health, you can ask a close friend or spouse to check your breath and give honest feedback. You can also perform a breath test yourself by licking your wrist, giving the saliva time to dry, and then smelling it.
Your oral hygiene habits set the pace for your mouth health. If you’ve been slacking on your brushing and flossing, you can begin to improve your oral hygiene habits with these techniques:
- Brush and floss at least twice a day
- Scrape your tongue each morning with a tongue scraper
- Replace your toothbrush every two to three months
- Start oil pulling
- Drink plenty of water
These simple yet effective steps will prevent bacteria from building up and generating a foul odor.
Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Foods and Drinks
The sensation caused by sensitive teeth is nearly impossible to describe, but there’s no mistaking that awful zinging feeling whenever you drink something too cold or hot. In addition to the pain it causes, sensitivity is also a sign of an unhealthy mouth.
Factors like brushing too hard, overuse of acidic beverages like soda and coffee, and excessive use of whitening products all expose tiny canals that lead right to your dental nerves. As soon as anything hot or cold reaches the nerves, you experience a “zing”.
Gum disease is also known to cause severe tooth sensitivity since gums recede from the teeth and lose their support system. If you have gum disease, you also probably have excessive plaque in your mouth, which also erodes tooth enamel and exposes nerve endings.
There are a few ways to treat sensitivity teeth, but it’s important to ask for your dentist’s advice before you choose:
- Desensitizing toothpaste
- In-office fluoride treatment
- White fillings or crowns
- Root canal
- Laser gum therapy
Chronic Sinus Infections From an Unhealthy Mouth
The bacteria that live in your mouth and gut are responsible for maintaining balanced immune responses throughout your body. This means that the health of your mouth directly impacts the strength of your immune system.
If you always seem to be coming down with a cold or sinus infection, that could be your body’s way of sending SOS messages Anything that harms or alters the microbiota communities in your mouth or digestive system has the potential to trigger immune dysfunction that leads to chronic sinus infections.
Improving your unhealthy mouth will create a direct improvement on your sinuses as well.
You have three main salivary glands and hundreds of minor salivary glands that are responsible for producing saliva in your mouth. Saliva is essential to the health of your teeth and gums, so when you develop dry mouth, it puts our oral health in danger.
Consider the roles that saliva performs:
- Neutralizes acids in the mouth
- Washes away food debris, bacteria, and other lingering toxins
- Keeps the mouth moist and hydrated, even while eating dry foods or exercising
- Breaks food down with enzymes and carries it from the mouth to the gut.
Bombarding your mouth with potent sugars and acids all day, every day compromises your mouth’s ability to produce saliva. This leads to a dry, unhealthy mouth.
Remain alert for these possible dry mouth symptoms:
- Chronic bad breath
- Cracked lips and inner cheeks
- Difficulty tasting foods
- Pain and inflammation on the tongue
- Frequent tooth decay
- Trouble speaking, swallowing, and chewing
- The feeling of sticky or stringy saliva
Dry mouth can be treated in a few different ways. The first step is to improve your general oral health with more frequent brushing, flossing, and dental appointments. Adjust your diet to nutritious, wholesome foods, and switch to medications that don’t cause the side effect of dry mouth. If those changes still don’t resolve your dry mouth, ask your dentist about other professional treatments.
Tooth Discoloration From an Unhealthy Mouth
Poor oral care is a common cause of tooth discoloration. If you fail to brush and floss regularly, it’s all too easy for bacteria, acid, and plaque to accumulate and harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar both create an unsightly yellow coating around your teeth that leads to other issues like bad breath, decay, and tooth loss.
Fortunately, it can all be avoided with better oral hygiene! The simple actions of brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist twice a year help prevent discoloration before it begins.
The mouth is so much more than another part of the body. It’s where everything begins. There’s a direct and powerful link between oral health and whole body wellness.
As the entry point to the digestive system, the condition of your mouth directly influences your gastrointestinal health. This explains why poor oral health is shown to contribute to inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
When an unhealthy mouth becomes overwhelmed by pathogens, oral bacteria can constantly move into the gut and trigger serious complications. Some strains of bacteria found in unhealthy saliva are even resistant to antibiotics and believed to trigger intense gut inflammation.
How to Improve Your Unhealthy Mouth
When you break a bone, you head to the emergency room. When your car breaks down, you head to the mechanic. So why wouldn’t you schedule an appointment with your dentist when you start to notice signs of an unhealthy mouth?
At Ablantis Dental in Encinitas, Santa fe dr CA, Dr. Claudia Cortadi and her team are committed to helping patients achieve a better, brighter version of themselves with improved oral health. If you suspect that your oral health is suffering the consequences of dry mouth, bad breath, pain, and other chronic issues, we are here to help.
Call (760) 334-0128 to schedule an appointment today, or request an appointment online.