In decades past, when a person had dental problems, the most common solution was to simply extract the teeth. While this definitely eliminated the source of many dental issues, it also left that person gumming their food for the remainder of their life.
Today, thankfully, oral science has advanced far beyond this type of one-size-fits-all solution. In this article, learn about five of the most common dental problems and how to prevent them.
Problem 1: Cavities.
Dental caries, or tooth cavities, are still the number one dental problem for people of all ages.
According to the Huffington Post, the invention of fluoride treatments is still one of the single most important health enhancements available today.
Cavities occur when carbohydrate-rich food remains on teeth and turns into acid, which then eats through the outermost coating of the tooth (the enamel) and into the tooth itself. When this occurs, a dentist will need to remove the decay and seal up the tooth.
Cavities are relatively easy to prevent. The best prevention methods include regular fluoride treatments as part of dental checkups, using a fluoride toothpaste at home and maintaining daily brushing and flossing habits.
Problem 2: Gingivitis.
Gingivitis is actually the medical name for the earliest stage of gum disease. With gingivitis, the bacteria gets stuck in the gums and, as a result, the gums begin to swell.
One of the first signs of gingivitis setting is bleeding gums. According to the Colgate Oral Care Center, up to 90 percent of adults may have some level of gingivitis.
Even though gingivitis is gum infection, because bleeding gums are the only real early warning sign, lots of people don’t realize they have gingivitis until they go to the dentist for their checkup. WebMD states that the dentist will treat early stage gingivitis by doing a deep cleaning beneath the gumline to clear out all the infection.
You can ensure gingivitis does not return by flossing and brushing and using a water flosser to get under the gums to clean out any bacteria.
Problem 3: Periodontal disease.
When gingivitis becomes more severe, it is renamed periodontal disease. With periodontal disease, it is not just the gums that are infected with bacteria. At this point, the bacteria has thoroughly infiltrated the gums and has spread to the underlying tissues and bone.
The symptoms become much more severe at this point. As the bacteria eats away at the tissue and bone, the teeth become loose in the mouth because their supporting structure is gone.
As with gingivitis, the first step is usually to attempt a deep cleaning, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). From here, the goal is to keep the infection from getting worse, since periodontal disease is not considered curable.
Periodontal disease can be prevented with careful attention to daily oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, use of antiseptic mouthwash and a water flosser.
Problem 4: Mouth sores.
Often called canker sores, mouth sores are actually called apthous ulcers. According to Mayo Clinic, there are many different working theories about why mouth sores can form, including stress, shifting hormones, certain food allergies, over-exposure to mouth acids and immune system issues.
Sometimes having braces can also cause mouth sores when the metal rubs up against the sensitive inner mouth tissues and then acids make the abrasion worse. Here, using orthodontic wax can help keep this from occurring.
While canker sores can be quite painful, they generally are not serious (the exception is if they are caused by another medical condition, such as an autoimmune disease). They are also not contagious.
Mouth rinses containing baking soda or warm salt water can help speed healing. Taking L-Lysine or zinc, Vitamin B-complex or folate supplements can also help with pain relief and prevention.
Problem 5: Tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity is a very common problem today. Sensitivity commonly manifests as discomfort when eating or drinking very cold or very hot items.
According to Mouth Healthy, there are a number of possible causes. Among the most frequently reported causes are tooth decay, tooth erosion, tooth fractures, gum disease and exposed tooth roots.
Often treating the underlying issue will treat the tooth sensitivity. Sometimes use of a de-sensitizing toothpaste or mouth rinse can help as well. Continued use of these aids along with daily rigorous dental hygiene can usually prevent the issue from recurring.
Clearly there are many health issues that can affect the teeth, gums and mouth itself. These are just five out of the many possible health conditions you may experience in your lifetime. However, as this article points out, maintaining excellent dental hygiene by brushing, flossing, using an antiseptic mouth rinse and following other dentist instructions can help you avoid these problems.
Brian Rees is a media relations representative for Commonwealth-Dentistry. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, music, and spending time outside.