You have a bad taste in your mouth
Along with bad breath, a persistent bad taste that’s not from something you ate or drank could be another sign something is wrong and warrants an immediate visit. “Bad taste can be caused by gingivitis, oral thrush or yeast infections, respiratory infections like tonsillitis or colds, Hepatitis B, or wisdom teeth coming in,” Dr Akosa says.
In addition, “sometimes people get a metallic taste in their mouth that could be a side effect of a medication; it could also be a side effect of hormonal changes specifically in women,” Dr Ferraz-Dougherty says.
Your mouth is constantly dry
A frequent dry mouth, which might also feel sticky, is cause for concern because it can lead to infection. “Saliva is very important in lubricating our mouth and has proteins that help combat the cavity process, so without saliva, you’re at a much higher risk of getting cavities quickly – and the cavities get big very, very fast,” Dr Ferraz-Dougherty says. “Dentists can give you special rinses and toothpaste for dry mouth, but there are also prescription medications that can help to promote salivary production in your body.”
Dry mouth is often a side effect of medication for other issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol, Dr Ferraz-Dougherty says. In addition, dry mouth is one of the major symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that attacks glands that make moisture. If another cause for your dry mouth isn’t found by your dentist, Dr Ferraz-Dougherty says, you should be referred to a doctor.
Your tongue has changed texture
Any weirdness with your tongue should be looked at by a dentist ASAP. “Any changes in texture, lumps, bumps or sores, or any change in sensation of your tongue are an indication to go see your dentist,” Dr Ferraz-Dougherty says. “That’s something we take very seriously because the tongue is one of the more common areas for oral cancer, so it’s important to get that checked out.” It’s also possible that a change in texture of the top surface of your tongue could be caused by ‘hairy tongue’, a fairly harmless condition in which the small bumps on your tongue called papillae build-up; however, you’ll still need to see your dentist for a diagnosis.
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