About Me

Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

My intense love for candy, cakes, and everything in between started as a child. I simply couldn't go one day without something sweet to eat. But my love for all things sweet took a toll on my teeth. My dentist diagnosed me with seven cavities, each one a different size and depth. After sitting through four long dental appointments, I decided to make a change. I now monitor my diet and only eat things that benefit my oral health. I'm here to help you take better care of your teeth. My blog offers tips on how to improve your diet, maintain good oral hygiene, and many other topics. Hopefully, you can learn to overcome your bad habits just as I did. Good luck with your future dental health.


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Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

Troubleshooting Your Teeth

by Eric Bailey

It's a shame that the human body doesn't come with an owner's manual -- after all, it's much more complex than, say, your car. Even your teeth can exhibit confusing and worrying signs of trouble, but without some basic troubleshooting knowledge, you could either get worked up over nothing or ignore a serious condition. Here are a few symptoms that can serve as the oral equivalent of a car's "check engine" light, a signal that you need to consult your family dental practitioner.

Strange Lumps

A strange lump on the gums or the roof of the mouth might throw you into a frenzy, but try to keep a cool head -- in many cases, these oddities are perfectly normal. A torus, for example, is a bony protrusion that may occur along the gums of the lower jaw or on the hard palate. Tori may cause some discomfort if you scrape them with sharp-edged foods, but they don't need to be removed unless they grow so large that they affect your breathing, speech, or ability to wear dentures comfortably.

Even though many mouth lumps are benign, however, you need to be aware that a lump might also be a possible sign of oral cancer, especially if it seems to be made of soft tissue instead of bone. Accompanying symptoms may include jaw pain, throat pain, discolored patches inside the mouth, or a stubborn sore that never goes away. Oral cancer is a fast-moving disease, which is why regular checkups are such an important part of complete dental care.


Spitting blood after a vigorous tooth brushing or flossing is not the most uncommon phenomenon in the world, as frightening as it may be. You may have simply stabbed your gums with the bristles or flossed in a particularly aggressive fashion, so an isolated incident shouldn't be cause for alarm. If it happens on a regular basis, however, you could be looking a a case of gum disease caused by tartar buildup and bacterial infiltration. There are two basic phases to this kind of problem:

Gingivitis - Gingivitis is an inflammation and infection of the gingiva, the tissue that interfaces with the tooth enamel at the gum line. Infection causes the gum surrounding the tooth to become red, inflamed, painful, and subject to bleeding. The gums may also recede, exposing more of the tooth.

Periodontal disease - Periodontal disease is the more advanced deterioration and infection that occurs when gingivitis goes unchecked. As the bacteria settle into the periodontal pockets surrounding the tooth, they begin to destroy the ligaments that hold the teeth in place. As the infection worsens, deep abscesses may occur in the jawbone, and ultimately you can lose teeth. You can avoid this serious escalation by consulting your dentist the minute you suspect gingivitis.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is more than just an embarrassment -- it can also be a sign of disease. If your breath smells of onions or garlic, of course, it's more likely a sign that you just ate dinner. But habitual or unexplained bad breath, or halitosis, should set up a red flag that something is wrong. Most of the time, the problem can be traced to plaque, that sticky accumulation of old food particles that bacteria love to feed on. A combination of good dental hygiene and regular cleaning from your dentist can keep this problem at bay. 

If your bad breath is accompanied by other symptoms, then you might be dealing with something other than simple plaque buildup. Examples include:

  • Sjogren's syndrome - Chronically dry mouth and eyes caused by this illness can leave the teeth unprotected by saliva, making them prone to decay.
  • Jaw or tooth pain - Your may have a full-blown infected tooth requiring an immediate root canal.
  • Respiratory infections or organ disease - Bad breath accompanied by lots of phlegm production may just mean that you need to see your family doctor about a nasty virus or other systemic disease.
  • Your imagination - Sometimes it's actually possible for you to believe you have bad breath when you don't. This condition even has a name: "pseudohalitosis."

Now that you have a starting point for troubleshooting those irritating dental symptoms, take the next step by getting a professional opinion. Schedule an appointment at your family dental clinic so the experts can check "under the hood" and make any necessary repairs! Hop over to this website to learn more.