Dental problems happen when there is a lack of healthy gum tissue in the mouth.

Signs and Symptoms

Dental disease is a term that encompasses both periodontal (gum) disease and oral cancer. The two are very different in that gum disease usually affects the supporting tissue of teeth while oral cancer only affects the cells of the mouth.

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Receding Gums

The gum tissue may slowly recede from the teeth, also known as recession. This happens when the bones that support the teeth are destroyed due to continuous bacterial exposure.


Gum disease and oral cancer often result in swollen, very sensitive gums (gingiva). There are a number of causes for bone degradation such as smoking, stress, and genetics.

Tooth Sensitivity

Oral cancer and gum disease can cause you to experience a sudden change in how sensitive your teeth are. They may become too sensitive to hot or cold food, or even air.


This is because the infection has destroyed the protective tissue around the nerves in your teeth, which then allows the nerves to come in direct contact with anything they touch (foods, drinks, air).


Severe tooth sensitivity is often accompanied by other dental problems such as a decayed tooth or gum disease (gingivitis). This is due to a greater than normal exposure to bacteria in the mouth and inadequate treatment or hygiene from the patient.

Already Weak

If your teeth are already weak, brittle or highly susceptible to breaks you may experience severe pain when certain foods hit them, or when you bite down on something hard (such as chewing a pencil).

Vulnerability and fragility of the teeth

Ear Pain

Ear pain can occur in both gum disease and oral cancer patients, although each have very different causes. Gum disease patients typically experience ear pain due to swollen gums or receding jaw that presses on nerves coming from the jaw; these types of pains are often mistaken for common colds or throat infections (which are actually quite rare). Bacteria from an infected tooth may cause gingival swelling which will eventually form into a painful abscess if left untreated. Most commonly this occurs in children and the elderly. However, it can occur to adults if their teeth were weakened due to advanced gum disease or plaque buildup (both conditions are caused by poor dental hygiene).

Oral cancer often results in a puffy or swollen facial appearance. This is caused by the production of saliva, which results when the mouth’s salivary glands become inflamed.
At this point there is no known treatment that can reverse the cancer, thus your dentist will recommend immediate treatment and removal of your infected teeth.

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Lip swelling

Lip swelling is a common symptom of oral cancer in adults but much less common in children and teens. If you notice that your lower lip has become wide and swollen for more than two weeks you should seek out dental care immediately.

Difficulty chewing

Difficulty chewing and swallowing food is also common in sufferers of oral cancer. This occurs because swelling has blocked the esophagus and prevents your body from properly digesting food. If you are experiencing swollen gums or lips, or any other symptoms of gum disease or oral cancer that do not improve after two weeks, see your dentist immediately.

medical condition

In some cases the swelling can be due to a tooth abscess or another medical condition, but most often it is a sign of oral cancer. By knowing the early symptoms of dental disease, you can seek out treatment before they become a serious problem. 

Signs and symptoms of Dental Disease