Toothaches, sensitive teeth, and bad breath – these are all signs that it’s time for a dental check-up. Many people experience some anxiety when visiting their dentist, but it’s recommended that to maintain a healthy mouth, you should visit them at least twice a year. Certain warning signs might indicate a serious oral health issue that requires immediate treatment. To determine if it’s time to visit your dentist, watch for these subtle signs that may indicate gum disease:

1. Inflamed or bleeding gums

If you notice that your gums are swollen or bloody following a brushing, it’s time to see the dentist. Gingivitis is when bacteria causes inflammation of the gums, and if it isn’t treated, it can lead to gum disease. Bleeding gums are an early indication of a larger problem.

2. Toothaches

Don’t just take another painkiller – call your dentist right away if you are experiencing regular toothaches. If you don’t, you risk letting the problem develop further, which will result in even more pain. A toothache may also be a sign that wisdom teeth are growing in, which can cause problems if they are impacted. Be aware of the symptoms of wisdom teeth.

3. Canker sores

Most canker sores heal on their own within a couple of weeks. But ones that don’t could be a sign of a looming dental problem, like a fungal infection called thrush. If you have sores that aren’t healing, have them examined by your oral practitioner.

4. Mouth injury

After experiencing a tooth trauma, it’s important to visit your dentist to assess the potential damage to your teeth. Blunt force can impact the roots of your teeth, so even if your mouth appears fine, it’s a good idea to have it checked out by a dentist.

5. Sensitive teeth

Heightened sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures may indicate that your teeth are losing strength, that you have a cavity, or that the enamel is eroding. Overly sensitive teeth are another reason to go in for a check-up.

6. A loose tooth

One telltale sign of gum disease is loose or wiggling teeth. It can also result from injuries to your teeth. Even worse, it could be a symptom of oral cancer. Prevent the decay of your teeth by visiting your dentist to find the root of your loose tooth issue.

7. Migraines

This form of pain can result from grinding your teeth. TMJ disorder is when the temporomandibular joint in your jaw is damaged, out of alignment, or eroded, which causes grinding of the teeth. If you grind your teeth at night, you may wake up with a headache or sore muscles. This can be treated with the help of a dentist.

8. Dry mouth

A lack of saliva can cause damage to your teeth. Your mouth needs moisture to prevent cavities from forming. Changes in the consistency of your saliva can be another sign that it’s time for a tooth check-up. Left untreated, a dry mouth can lead to other dental problems such as gum disease.

9. Feeling unrested

Sleep apnea is a condition that results from blocked airways, and it causes sufferers of the condition to clench their teeth. People with sleep apnea experience periods where they cannot breathe at night due to restricted airways, which causes them to feel tired after waking up. Your dentist can examine your mouth to see if you may have sleep apnea.

10. Painful to chew

Excessive difficulty chewing causes everyday meals to become a painful chore. If you are having trouble chewing regular meals, have your dentist examine your teeth to determine the cause of the problem. 

11. Bad breath

Foods with onions or garlic naturally cause intensely smelly breath, but a raunchy smell could also be an indication of excessive bacteria in your mouth or an oral infection.

12. It has been more than six months since your last check-up

Don’t let problems fester into big infections – there are benefits to regular dental visits. Check your teeth regularly to keep your mouth healthy and your smile happy. 

13. Ear pain

Did you know that a tooth infection can cause ear pains? Pain or ringing in your ears can indicate an issue with your oral health. Dentists can prescribe antibiotics or painkillers to help with this issue. 

14. Afraid to smile

A self-conscious smile makes it difficult to enjoy life. Those who are insecure about their smile find it challenging to smile or laugh because they are afraid of others seeing their teeth. A dentist can help you find solutions to improve the cosmetic appearance of your teeth, and in turn, your confidence. 

15. Receding gums

As we age, our gums recede naturally. But if you notice that more of your teeth are becoming visible, it may be a sign of bone loss. Talk to your dentist to determine whether or not your gum recession is normal.