6 Common Dental Problems and What to Do about Them
Why We Take a Comprehensive Approach to Our Patient’s Dentistry
With the most common dental problems, prevention is key and goes a long way. Your daily routine of flossing and brushing, as well as eating healthy foods and seeing your dentist regularly, will help prevent most dental problems before they arise.
1. Tooth Decay, aka Cavities
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental caries (more commonly known as cavities) is the most prevalent childhood disease (ADA.org). Now, when you put it that way, that sounds downright scary. However, most dentists don’t want their patients to think of childhood or adult cavities as a disease. They happen. We do want to prevent them as much as possible and remedy them quickly should they crop up.
The ADA is also hopeful about the possible elimination of decay and encourages a partnership between dentist and patient. If you want to take your oral health seriously, use fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, drink fluoridated water, stick to a healthy diet, and avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol use.
2. Gum Disease
Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems that most people don’t know they have it. Though three out of four Americans suffer from some form of it, only 3% seek treatment (Perio.org).
When you consider the fact that teeth and gums cannot be replaced and that periodontitis has been linked to several other diseases, like diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease, it’s more apparent than ever that keeping your gums healthy through proper hygiene and regular dental visits is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Gum disease can eventually lead to loosening and missing teeth as well, another dental problem we deal with at Monroe Family Dentistry. Ideally, we want to partner with you to prevent and treat gum disease before you start losing the stability of your tooth.
3. Bad Breath
Among other things, gum disease leads to bad breath, but bad breath can also come from other factors, like digestive issues, tobacco use, dry mouth, certain medications, or oral cancer. Bad breath is no fun for anyone who suffers from it or has to deal with it! Rule out any oral health-related causes with your dentist. If the problem persists despite expert dental habits, you may want to speak to your primary care doctor to get to the underlying cause.
4. Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is something your dentist can detect before any other healthcare provider. Oral cancer is extremely serious and can be deadly. “The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that someone in the United States dies every hour from oral cancer, but it is often curable if diagnosed and treated in the early stages.” (Verywellhealth.com)
Talk to your dentist about screening for oral cancer, especially if you use tobacco and are over 40. Both of these factors increase your risk of oral cancer.
What are oral cancer symptoms?
Sores, lumps, or rough areas in the mouth are all signs you may have oral cancer and should check with your dentist. “You may also have a change in your bite and difficulty chewing or moving your tongue or jaw.”
5. Mouth Sores
There are few known causes and two types of mouth sores. Canker sores hurt like the dickens and are difficult to cure. They usually go away within a week or two. Candida, or thrush, causes canker sores. Candida is a yeast infection that is reported to occur in “infants, denture-wearers, people with diabetes, and people undergoing cancer treatment.”
Dentists can prescribe a steroid cream to help them heal; however, steroid creams can also contribute to yeast infections, so many dentists avoid prescribing this. Frequent dental cleanings and diligent oral habits can help to reduce the occurrence of canker sores. The other type of mouth sore is a fever blister or cold sore, which is caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. These are on the outer edges of the lips rather than on any part of the gums like a canker sore. There is no cure, but they come and go.
6. Straightening Teeth
Crooked teeth can be merely cosmetic. But in many cases, crooked teeth are a challenge to clean, contributing to almost every dental problem we’ve mentioned so far. When hard-to-reach places accumulate buildup, it can harden into calculus. The buildup of calculus can contribute to canker sores, periodontitis, bad breath, and tooth decay.
Talk to your dentist if overlapping or crooked teeth are creating a challenge for you in your oral habits. If you’re faithful to brushing and flossing your teeth and still get buildup in certain areas, this could be a sign that straightening your teeth is not just cosmetic for you.
These are six common dental problems that plague many patients who come to see us. Though we love to turn back the clock for you, we also are big believers in prevention. As always, the goal is to help you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible. Let us partner with you in giving you the happiest smile possible!