1 . You have pain. Pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck can mean a number of things.

2. If your gums are acting up. If your gums are puffy, they bleed when you brush or floss, or you have a family history of gum disease, it’s time to make an appointment.

Photo of teeth and gum showing gum disease

3. You try to hide your smile. Whether you’re self-conscious about a missing tooth or hoping for a brighter smile, don’t be shy about talking to your dentist.

4. If you have had work done. If you have fillingscrownsdental implants or dentures, see your dentist regularly to make sure everything is in great shape.

5. You have ongoing medical issues. Make your dentist part of your team if you have a medical condition (such as diabetescardiovascular diseaseeating disorders or are HIV positive), or you are undergoing medical treatment (such as radiationchemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy).

6. You’re pregnant. It’s safe to go to the dentist while pregnant. In fact, pregnancy can make some dental problems worse, so don’t miss your regular checkup.

7. You’re having trouble eating. Difficulty chewing or swallowing is not the norm. Try eating soft or liquified foods until you can see your dentist.

8. You have dry mouth. Always feeling parched could be the sign of a medical issue or a medication side effect.

9. You use any kind or type of tobacco. From bad breath to oral cancercigarettes and chewing tobacco are harmful to your overall and dental health.

10. You’re having jaw pain. Make an appointment if your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up. See a dentist also if you have an uneven bite.

Diagram of jaw bone and joint

11. Your mouth has spots and sores. f there’s something that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth, your dentist should examine any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer. Types of mouth sores include canker sorescold soresleukoplakiaand candidiasis. They vary in their severity and causes. Mouth sores could be the symptom of a disease or disorder; infection from bacteria, viruses or fungus or result from irritation caused by braces, dentures or the sharp edge of a broken tooth or filling.

Photo of a sore on bottom of tongue

12. It’s time for your check up. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, checkups are important because they can help prevent problems from developing and treat existing symptoms before they become more advanced.

To learn more visit www.mouthhealthy.org