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04 Jul 2019

10 Common Dental Problems & Tooth Diseases

Oral health is aptly said to be the mirror of general health. The condition of your oral cavity reflects your overall health. For this reason, it is necessary to know the problems related to your oral cavity and it is crucial to know when to seek oral care or visit your dentist.

Here are the 10 most common dental problems you should be aware of:

  • Tooth decay

It is the most common of tooth problems. Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, occurs when bacteria in plaque is given the chance to settle on teeth. It produces an acid that slowly eats away at tooth enamel and forms holes. This bacteria is particularly prevalent after eating sugars and starches, so limit exposure by eating a healthy diet.

The likelihood of developing a cavity depends largely on your oral hygiene maintenance. The better your oral health routine, the fewer chances you will have of suffering tooth decay. However, older people and children are slightly more at risk, because their enamel is more vulnerable. If a child develops cavities within baby teeth, they will be repaired as soon as the adult teeth emerge, but this does not mean that dental attention isn’t important.

The best possible approach to dealing with plaque is prevention. Once you have cavities, there is no real way to reverse them (though new technologies may make this a reality soon). The only option is to fill and repair them, so protect your enamel while you still can. Brush and floss regularly, attend routine dental exams and avoid eating too many sugary foods.

  • Gum Disease (Periodontitis)

This is a bacterial infection brought about by the accumulation of plaque in the mouth. Gingivitis is the infection of gums. Periodontitis is a more advanced form of infection affecting the gums, ligament and the surrounding bones. The bacteria invade and destroy the gum tissue and ligaments that hold the teeth in place. During the early phases of gingivitis and mild periodontitis, the symptoms can still be reversed with a good dental care routine and immediate treatment for any underlying infections. Once the disease moves on to advanced stages, it becomes much harder to treat, so give yourself the best possible chance and respond early.

Risk factors for gum disease are poor dental hygiene, faulty brushing or flossing techniques, and other serious health problems like diabetes are more prone to developing persistent gum infections. Be sure to stay ahead of gum disease with good dental hygiene and care!

  • Tooth fractures

Fractured teeth are often common among young children. School-going children that are actively involved in sports are at higher risk of tooth fractures. During an impact, single or multiple teeth can be affected. The treatment for fractured teeth will depend on the severity and the level of the fracture. In most cases, the natural tooth can be saved. If the tooth has come out completely, then you should carry it to the dentist in a container with milk or distilled water. In the case of fall or impact, you should immediately visit your dentist.

  • Tooth Infection 

This happens when the root of a tooth becomes infected and fills up with bacteria. If left untreated, it will damage the nerves and the pulp tissue inside the tooth itself. So, get to the dentist right away if you think that you might have this condition. Deep cracks, fractures, or cavities can all lead to an infection.

The most severe root infections cause patients to develop painful abscesses. These appear in the form of very sore facial swellings. However, abscesses usually only occur once a root infection has progressed to a more serious state. If you deal with a painful or cracked tooth quickly, this should not happen.

  • Enamel erosion 

This is a very common problem and is characterised by round and noticeably discoloured enamel surfaces. It occurs as a result of exposure to corrosive materials like fizzy drinks and sugary snacks. The acid in these ingredients wears down the enamel and gives it a stained and unhealthy look. In some cases, overzealous brushing may also be a factor.

The one thing that will lead to enamel degradation faster than anything else is sipping on fizzy and sugary drinks all day, every day. This includes sports drinks, carbonated soft drinks (diet ones too), and most forms of wine. In fact, this is considered to be an occupational hazard for professional wine tasters and reviewers. Like cavities, there is only so much that can be done once a certain amount of enamel has been worn away. You cannot get back material that has been eroded. This means that prevention is always the best cure for enamel degradation. Where possible, swap out soft drinks for water. If you enjoy drinking fruit juices, make sure that you clean your teeth regularly and restrict these drinks to mealtimes.

  • Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

This condition is sometimes called xerostomia, but it is most easily recognized with the simple term ‘dry mouth.’ Unsurprisingly, it is caused by a lack of saliva in the mouth. This can occur for a number of different reasons, but it is a well-known side effect of taking prescription medications. If you are on any kind of medication, ask your doctor whether this could be an issue.

Saliva has mild antibacterial properties and it is used to wash away residual plaque from teeth. It also gives your gums and teeth essential moisture, lubrication, and cleansing. Thus, individuals with xerostomia are more prone to infections. The most at risk groups are patients on prescription medications and people over the age of fifty. As the mouth ages, saliva production naturally slows and the friction against teeth increases. Over time, if left untreated, this lack of saliva will contribute to the development of decay and cavities.

  • Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

The long winded condition, TMJ disorders involves a dysfunction of the similarly named joint. It is found a little below the ears, but above the jawbone. The condition usually leads to the grinding or clenching of teeth while asleep. It is more common in women than men and is most likely to appear during the childbearing years. It can also be caused due to psychological factors like stress.

  • Oral Cancers

Clearly, this is one of the most serious dental problems that you can develop, so it is vital that you recognize the signs as soon as they appear, if they ever do. Most oral cancers begin as a small, pale, pinkish lump or growth inside the mouth. It is almost always painless. If you have a growth like this or you are worried about a change in your mouth, consult a dentist now.

A specialist will be able to gently examine your mouth, head, and neck for signs of trouble. For smokers, this kind of check-up is very important, because smoking significantly increases the chances of developing mouth cancer. It is also more common in people who drink excessively, so keep an eye on your alcohol consumption.

  • Sores

Mouth sores are another condition that can often occur. They can be painful and cause a burning sensation while eating spicy foods. Mouth sores could be a sign of infection or vitamin deficiency. It’s best to get this checked by a dentist who can assess it and prescribe an ointment or medication.

  • Tooth sensitivity

Seven out of ten people suffer from tooth sensitivity. Each tooth has an outermost covering of enamel. When this wears off, the sensitive dentin is exposed. The dentin has nerve endings and on exposure, makes the tooth sensitive to sweet and cold foods. Your dentist will assess the case and suggest a suitable treatment

If you are concerned about your oral health or thinking of getting a regular dental check-up done, consult with the Tacoma Dental Group for a personalized experience, specific to your dental needs. Preserve your natural smile by selecting the best dental solutions.

For more information about enamel wear and sensitivity problems, consult Dr. Ron Lo at (253)-383-1551 or at tacomadentalgroup@gmail.com 

You can also visit our website https://tacomadentalgroup.com/