gum disease, los gatos, san jose, campbell, saratoga, cupertino, santa clara, monte serenoWhat’s the worst thing that could happen if you don’t take care of your mouth? You could get a cavity, but that is not the worst case scenario.

Oral problems can wreak havoc on your overall health and have been linked to a number of life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and birthing complications. Here are three signs that your dental check-up is long overdue.

1. Swollen or tender gums

Your mouth is filled with bacteria all the time. A healthy immune system can handle these germs most of the time, but if your immune system is compromised, you can get infected gums at the drop of a hat. Many factors can diminish your immune system’s effectiveness: certain medications, extended illness, lack of sleep, stress, or poor diet. Gum infections can indicate a weakened immunity.

2. Dental abscess

A dental abscess is an accumulation of pus inside your gums. These little pockets of nastiness raise a red flag in the minds of dentists. Upon seeing a mouth full of abscesses, some dentists will send their patients to get a glucose tolerance test because of the strong connection between oral health and diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association says that dentists are often the first to suspect diabetes.

3. Changes in the way your teeth fit together

When gum infections are left untreated, germs can penetrate deep within your jaw and cause structural damage to your teeth. Your teeth may begin to move or shift. If you suspect that your teeth aren’t fitting together the way they used to, call a dentist immediately. You may have had infected gums for some time without realizing it.

Protect your health

Your mouth is the gateway to your body, and you have to take care of it if you want to be healthy. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, pick up the phone and schedule your next appointment.

If you have any questions, please ask.