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13 Oral Health Symptoms to Monitor

When to Visit Total Care Dental in Madison

When is a toothache more than a toothache? Many health problems start out with seemingly minor symptoms. Oral health is no different. Anything from bad breath to tooth pain can be a sign of an underlying health issue. At Total Care Dental in Madison, our dentists believe in early diagnosis for effective treatment.

Learn about the possible causes of these 13 common dental health symptoms:


Have some other symptom not listed here? Please contact our oral health team to schedule a consultation.

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath is usually an indicator of bacteria in the mouth. Many patients will be able to get rid of bad breath by brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash. Dry mouth (a lack of saliva) can lead to a buildup of odor causing bacteria. Infections from oral injuries or gum disease may also cause bad breath.

Causes of Tooth Pain

Tooth pain can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is temporary from chewing tough food. Sometimes it can indicate a larger problem.

  • Abscess
  • New braces or retainer
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Jaw injuries
  • Damaged teeth

Causes of Loose Teeth

Gum disease is one of the main reasons permanent teeth become loose. As the gums deteriorate, they can no longer hold teeth firmly in place.

Teeth might become loose if a patient has low bone density from osteoporosis. Injuries to the face or jaw may also loosen teeth.

Causes of Red or Bleeding Gums

Inflamed gums are often an indicator of periodontal disease. Any infection of the gums can cause bleeding when brushing or flossing. Grinding your teeth, whether subconsciously or on purpose, can irritate the gums around the base of your teeth.

Poor nutrition may weaken your gums as well, leading to bleeding when you brush. Swollen, inflamed gums are an early indicator of diabetes. Finally, patients who take certain medications might experience light bleeding as an unfortunate side effect.

Causes of Discolored Saliva

Saliva is meant to be clear when you are healthy. The most frequent discolorations are:

  • Pink or red – blood in the mouth will discolor clear saliva
  • White – a dry mouth and acid reflux product white saliva

Causes of Soreness and Stiffness

Soreness in the mouth and jaw can indicate several possible diseases including:

Causes of Visible Cracks on Tooth

Cracks on a tooth may appear due to trauma or chewing on a hard substance. Lots of small cracks on multiple teeth might indicate bruxism, a tooth grinding condition.

Causes of Overlapping Teeth

Overlapping or crooked teeth are usually the result of overcrowding in the mouth. There simply isn’t enough room for each tooth to come in perfectly straight. Total Care Dental provides Invisalign to patients who need their teeth straightened.

Causes of Temperature Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is usually caused by weakened enamel. Certain toothpastes and acidic foods can take a toll on teeth. As they wear down the enamel, the root underneath is gradually exposed to different temperatures.

Cavities in teeth are another source of sensitivity. Like weak enamel, the hole in the tooth lets the hot or cold food get closer to the sensitive root.

Causes of Dry Mouth

One of the main causes of dry mouth is simple dehydration. Drinking plenty of fluids will reverse the symptoms. Many medications have dry mouth as a side effect. Some autoimmune disorders may slow down saliva production.

Causes of Missing Teeth

If permanent teeth have fallen out on their own, you likely have some type of gum disease. You should visit Total Care Dental even if your teeth have been missing for a long time. Your remaining teeth might have moved to fill the space and could cause bite problems when you eat.

Causes of Changed Bite

Teeth are meant to fit together when we chew. A change in your bite means the teeth may collide at angles which can lead to chipping, cracks, and discomfort. Invisalign offers teens and adults a way to correct bite alignment without conventional metal braces.

Causes of Open Sores

Sores can appear in or around the mouth. Some are common cold and canker sores. Others may indicate oral cancer. Total Care Dental has oral cancer screenings in order to provide early detection and treatment for patients.

Have one of these symptoms? Please arrange a consultation with our dentists at our Madison clinic. We are ready to help you get healthy teeth and gums.

Schedule an appointment with TCD dentists if you have any of these oral health symptoms.