mouthwash-150x150Even with regular checkups and cleanings, things can happen that affect your teeth and gums. Usually your dentist will spot these issues, but sometimes they come up in between appointments that should not be put off until your next cleaning.

Keep in mind that by the time signs begin to appear in your mouth, the problem is likely advanced—so don’t hesitate to call your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms:

1. Spots on your teeth

We typically think of cavities as dark areas of decay but they actually start out as white spots on your enamel. This is a very early stage of decay, so at this point you may be able to get ahead of it before it develops into an actual cavity that requires a filling. If you notice any white spots that weren’t there before, it’s worth getting them checked out.

2. Changes in your gums

Gingivitis is something you want to avoid as it leads to tooth loss and can be very painful. The disease is caused by plaque that has hardened into tartar. When this tartar accumulates under your gum line, it causes inflammation. Swollen gums are the first sign that there is a problem. If you notice any issues around your gums, or your gums begin to feel tender to the touch, call you dentist right away.

3. Tooth sensitivity

If you start to notice an increase in sensitivity to hot or cold, it’s likely that you have advanced decay in at least one of your teeth. Sensitivity to hot and cold is not always caused by decay – it can be caused by something like teeth grinding or a loose filling. These can easily be repaired. Your dentist will be able to identify the cause and recommend fixes.

4. Mouth or tooth pain

Pain that doesn’t go away is a sign of a serious problem. If you experience pain in your mouth you should not wait to see if it will go away. Sometimes it does but the underlying problem persists and could get worse. Your body may have fought off a tooth infection, but the basic problem remains, which means the infection could return.

5. Overall oral changes

As you brush your teeth, take time to examine your tongue, cheeks, and throat. If you see any changes – color, spots, lumps, swelling, etc., or anything that wasn’t there before, you should be bring it to the attention of your dentist.