Everybody ages over time – there is no stopping it. As you grow older, you will notice some physical changes such as wrinkles on your forehead, around your eyes, and in the area of your mouth. Although your mouth will naturally change as you age, there are certain changes in your mouth that may be indications of a bigger problem. Here are a few things to look out for:
If you notice lumps on your gums, there is a possibility that you have an oral infection. As your immune system becomes weaker, plaque and tooth decay can all cause infections in your mouth. Two of the most common causes of lumpy gums are trauma and dental cysts. Trauma can happen when there is a blow to your mouth, when you drink or eat very hot things, or when your mouth is in the process of adjusting to new braces or dentures. Dental cysts are shallow sores on your gums that are mostly near the roots of buried or dead teeth. Most dental cysts are asymptomatic, but some can be infected and cause pain. Dental cysts that are large in size can make your jaw weak and put an unnecessary amount of strain on your teeth. To eliminate these cysts, you may have to get surgery. You will also have to treat your dead root tissue to make sure that they won’t reappear. Other serious problems such as oral cancers and tumors of the teeth or jaw can also be the causes of lumpy gums. To identify the roots of your lumps, it’s best to consult with your dentist.
One common symptom of gum disease is bleeding gums. The first stage is called gingivitis, which can progress to something more serious: periodontitis. Different factors can cause gingivitis, but the buildup of plaque on your teeth is the infamous culprit. Plaque carries germs that are bad for your gums, causing them to be irritated and inflamed. You may not feel pain or even irritation, but you will notice that your gums bleed easily whenever your floss or brush your teeth. Bleeding gums can be an indicator of infection, trauma, or even a blood disorder. Talk to your dentist and see what they think.
Swelling of Tongue/Gums
Another common sign of oral infection is tongue and gum inflammation. If your immunity is low, you’re more susceptible to infections caused by herpes simplex, coxsackievirus, and other bacteria, which leads to the swelling of gums. The swelling of the tongue can be the result of an allergic reaction, but this can also be caused by low iron levels, leukemia, or strep throat, especially if the swelling comes more slowly and gradually.
Lumps on the Tongue
You may have experienced painful lumps on your tongue after you accidentally bite it or after you ingest something that is too hot. These painful lumps on the tongue can also be caused by stress and certain hormones. In most cases, the pain usually subsides after a few days without any treatment. There is also another condition called eruptive lingual papillitis that causes painful lumps on the tongue as well as a fever and swollen glands. Eruptive lingual papillitis is common among children and it is contagious. Fortunately, the condition will pass in a few weeks without treatment. To alleviate the pain, you can rinse your mouth with salt water and avoid eating solid foods.
If you notice white or yellow blobs at the back of your throat, chances are that you have tonsil stones. Tonsil stones can be formed from debris, such as mucus and bacteria, and this debris can calcify if it’s not removed. These stones may even reach an extent when they are visible on CT and MRI imaging! People who have tonsil stones often have bad breath, also known as halitosis. That is because the debris accumulated by the tonsillar tissue and mercattons are in the mouth. Sometimes you can remove tonsil stones by gargling salt water to remove them, but if the stones refuse to come out, you may need to get surgical removal.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your mouth, you should contact a dentist as soon as you can. Your dentist can identify the problems and treat them before they develop into something more serious.