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Your oral health changes just as frequently as any other aspect of your overall health. Stress, medical conditions,and poor oral hygiene can contribute to a less-than-healthy mouth.  So how do you know when your oral health enters a slump? And how do you boost your mouth’s health? In this post, we list five symptoms of poor oral health and four strategies to restore your mouth to full well being.

Symptoms of Poor Oral Health

Regardless of why your oral health has declined, you will likely see a similar set of symptoms. Common signs of poor oral health include the following.

1. Bad Breath

Bad breath can happen for two main reasons. Most commonly, bad breath results from a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, usually plaque bacteria left over from inadequate cleaning. Sometimes, however, bad breath can be caused by gum disease.

2. Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, consider the symptom a major warning sign. The bleeding happens because your gums are inflamed, usually due to lack of oral hygiene or a gap in your immune system.

3. Canker Sores

While canker sores and cold sores can afflict even healthy mouths, you’ll see more of them when your oral health declines. If you have frequent, large, or painful sores, address the problem with your dentist as soon as possible.

4. Dryness

Dry mouth usually occurs in tandem with other symptoms since it isn’t caused directly by poor oral hygiene. Dryness can contribute to oral health problems or indicate the presence of other problems, such as dietary shortcomings.

5. Thrush

If poor oral hygiene is left unaddressed, you may develop oral infections like thrush. These infections occur most often in children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems. Thrush manifests as white, raised lesions on the soft tissues in the mouth.

Strategies to Improve Your Oral Health

Once you notice an issue with your oral health, take immediate action to build your health back up. While it may feel embarrassing to acknowledge that your oral health has declined, this problem can affect people of any age for numerous reasons. To get your health back on track, start with these strategies.

1. Schedule a Cleaning and Exam

Because poor oral health can happen for a variety of reasons, it’s important to visit your dentist for an exam. During the exam, your dentist can identify potential reasons for the changes in your mouth. Additionally,a professional dental cleaning can give you a fresh start on your hygiene routine.

2. Choose a New Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Most dental experts recommend changing your toothbrush every three months. If you’ve had your toothbrush for longer, the brush may not clean as effectively. Choose a new brush and a toothpaste intended to strengthen enamel or improve oral health.

3. Floss More Often

While you probably know the importance of flossing, you may not do it as often as needed. You should floss thoroughly at least once a day. While you’re working to improve your oral health, you may decide to floss after meals as well to make it easier to clean your teeth well.

4. Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Sugary foods and beverages encourage bacteria to stick to your teeth and linger in your mouth. While you’re working on your oral hygiene, limit your sugar intake as much as possible to make your efforts more effective, to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms, and to improve the health of your mouth. Pay attention to your oral health symptoms to ensure that you can alter your routine as needed to keep your smile bright, white, and strong.