3 Strange Symptoms Of Dental Problems

Do you go to the dentist as often as you should? Polling suggests that as many as one-third of Americans did not visit a dentist at all in 2013. There are a number of reasons for this, including lack of access to affordable dental care for lower-income Americans, but it's important to realize that your oral health is strongly linked to your overall physical health. If you're not going to the dentist regularly, dental problems and infections may go untreated, leading to even more serious health problems in the future. And if you think that you would know if you had a serious dental health issue, think again. Not all infections or dental problems are easily recognizable. Some symptoms of dental problems may seem unrelated to your teeth. Take a look at some strange symptoms that you didn't know could be caused by dental problems.

Chronic Hives

Hives are red, itchy welts that appear on your skin. Usually they're temporary, but chronic hives can last for six weeks or more. And while you may be tempted to chalk the condition up to heat, sensitive skin, or an allergic reaction, there are several less obvious reasons why you may break out in hives. Tooth decay is one of those reasons.

That's because bacterial infections are a trigger for hives. Plaque, the sticky film that coats your teeth and causes tooth decay if it isn't removed regularly, is made up of bacteria that lives in your mouth. When the plaque gets out of control, it causes tooth decay and infections that can then cause your body's immune system to respond by producing hives.

High Blood Sugar

If you're a diabetic, you have several tools at your disposal to keep your blood sugar under control, including insulin injections, oral medications, and dietary changes. If you normally are able to control your blood sugar without a problem and suddenly find it difficult to control, it may be because you have gum disease or a root canal infection.

These infections may be hidden – in other words, you may not notice any other symptoms. However, your body and immune system respond to the infection even if you're not aware of it, and as a result, your blood sugar may remain higher than it should and may be hard to control. If you're having unusual trouble controlling your blood sugar and can't find another reason for it, a trip to the dentist may provide the answer.

Neck Pain

Neck pain is a difficult symptom to pinpoint the cause of. You could have neck pain simply because of the position you slept in the night before, or because you put some strain on your muscles when lifting something heavy. But if you have persistent neck pain for no obvious reason, it could be a sign that you have TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder).

The temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your jaw to your skull on each side of your head. TMJ is a joint disorder that affects those joints and the muscles around them. While the most common symptoms include jaw pain and tenderness, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and a clicking sound when you open or close your mouth, lesser known symptoms like neck pain or headaches can also be signs of this joint problem. There are several ways to treat this problem, ranging from wearing a dental appliance while you sleep at night to joint surgery in the most severe cases.

Facial Numbness

If you've ever had a cavity filled or other dental work done with Novocain or another local anesthetic, you may associate facial numbness with the effects of the anesthetic. However, when it occurs on it's own, it can be difficult to know what's causing the symptom, and you may not immediately connect it with your teeth. However, facial numbness can be a sign of a tooth abscess that's pressing on a nerve. In many cases, an abscess presents with severe pain, but in the right position, it may cause numbness instead of pain, which can lead you to overlook the possibility that you have an infection.

If you experience numbness in your face, you should see a dentist right away. This is particularly important if you experience numbness in your chin. Like other facial numbness, chin numbness can be a sign of an abscess. However, it can also be a sign of cancer or multiple sclerosis. You will want to have a dental problem either diagnosed or ruled out as soon as possible so that you can get the correct treatment.

Your best bet is to see your dentist for a checkup at least once or twice a year. This way, your dentist has a chance to catch oral health problems that you aren't aware of. If you have symptoms that you think may be related to your teeth, even if you're not certain, don't hesitate to make an appointment to have them checked out.