As long as your smile is pearly white and your breath is kissable (go ahead and check), you probably don't give too much thought to your oral hygiene. Which is a shame because even if you brush and floss daily, you could be overlooking some clear signs of the state of your overall health.
"Research has shown that there is an association between oral problems and serious health conditions in the rest of your body," says Sally Cram, D.D.S., a periodontist based in Washington, D.C. So next time you pick up your toothbrush, stop and check your kisser for these clues that something may be amiss so you can remedy the issue.
You can use your keyboard to see the next slide ( ← previous, → next)
1 of 11
Warning Sign: Sharp Tooth Pain
A slight discomfort in your mouth is likely a piece of popcorn or nut lodged between teeth—something you can easily self-treat. But a sudden, sharp pain in your teeth when you bite down or chew is reason to see your dentist immediately, as it could indicate dental decay or a cavity, says Steven Goldberg, D.D.S., a Boca Raton, FL-based dentist and inventor of DentalVibe. For throbbing, aching pain, he says to wait three days. If your mouth is still unhappy after that time, make a visit to your dentist.
However, an ache that's located in your top teeth may signal a sinus infection, Goldberg says, as the sinuses are located just above the upper roots of your upper teeth. A dentist should be able to tell if your sinuses are clogged with an x-ray, and a decongestant should help the pain subside.