Dental care is intended to help you keep a healthy, lifetime happy smile. However, there are some things you can do to ensure that you help prevent common dental problems. These include brushing, flossing, a healthy diet, what causes them, and how to prevent them. Let’s take a quick refresher course on common dental problems and what we can do about them.
We’ll open with a common dental problem that we’ve all been warned about since childhood: cavities. Dental cavities–also referred to as dental caries–are a form of tooth decay caused by bacteria. Cavities happen when bacteria build up in the mouth and the waste they create eats away at the hard outer layer of the teeth. Bacteria then infest these holes–hence “cavities”–and the damage continues. If left untreated, the cavity may eat away at the tooth to the point that tooth loss occurs. It sounds nasty–and it is!–but the good news is that they are preventable with an effective brushing and flossing routine, a healthy diet low in sugars and starches, and regular exams and cleanings.
Related to dental cavities in that they share a similar cause, gum disease is another common dental problem. Like cavities, gum disease often starts with bacteria buildup in the mouth. As these bacteria work their way below the gumline, they cause infections that lead to swollen, bleeding, or receding gums. It is bad enough on its own, but damage to the gums can also lead to loose or shifting teeth, damage to the bone of the jaw, and even tooth loss. As with cavities, effective brushing and flossing is a must in preventing gum disease, as is a healthy diet and regular visits to your dentist. If you notice signs of gum disease–red or inflamed gums, bleeding gums, or receding gums–contact your dentist and make an appointment so that they can help you address the issue.
This next one is less of a problem in and of itself–but it is annoying and there may be other, larger issues. Bad breath, more known as halitosis, is a common issue that we all face from time to time. Bad breath is caused by several things, including relatively benign issues like a recent meal or cup of coffee. However, bad breath is also a common problem with smokers, who also face teeth and gum damage due to their tobacco habit. Bad breath can be avoided by brushing and flossing regularly, using mouthwash, and avoiding tobacco, coffee, and alcohol. If halitosis becomes a recurring issue, you should speak to your dentist. Chronic bad breath is a gum disease indicator, tooth decay, or problems with the tonsils or other soft tissues.
Our final dental health problem is common but should not be ignored: tooth pain. Pain in the teeth, jaw, or gums is always a concern, especially if that pain is recurring or results from an injury. While tooth pain can be treated with an over-the-counter painkiller, if your tooth pain is serious or won’t go away, contact your healthcare provider immediately because there may be something much more serious going on.
These are common dental issues that we can take steps to help prevent them. If you have any concerns about any of these issues–or are just overdue for an exam and cleaning–get in touch with us today and we’ll make an appointment just for you!