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Top Ten Dental Concerns

Our mouths are a vital part of our health and happiness. They are the gateway to our bodies for nourishment and water, and are essential to life. They deserve our attention. Caring for our mouths and teeth can improve our overall health and wellbeing.

The following lists common dental concerns, their symptoms, causes and possible treatments.

10. Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Gum disease, or Gingivitis, is an infection in the gums around teeth. Periodontitis is the advanced form of gum disease. It is a major cause of adult tooth loss. Studies have shown that gum disease and numerous other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke, are possibly linked.

Symptoms include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Pain when chewing

Regular dental check-ups, brushing, and flossing can prevent them.

9. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer affects millions of people and can be deadly. But it is often curable if it's diagnosed and treated in the early stages.

The biggest risk factors are:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Alcohol use
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Symptoms include:

  • Sores
  • Lumps
  • Rough areas in the mouth
  • Change in your bite
  • Difficulty chewing or moving your tongue or jaw

Regular dental visits can help catch oral cancer early. An oral cancer exam is part of our usual checkup.

8.  Tooth Erosion

Enamel erosion is a condition that develops very slowly and leaves teeth both discolored and rounded-looking. Its primary cause is consuming lots of sugary and acidic foods such as soda and sweets over a long period of time. A rare cause is brushing your teeth too often, too hard, and too long.

Enamel erosion leads to teeth that are very sensitive, weaker, and more susceptible to cracks, chips, and cupping. The lost enamel cannot be restored on teeth that have suffered enamel erosion. However, you can greatly reduce further enamel erosion by cutting back on sugary and acidic foods. Using toothbrushes with softer bristles helps, too. You can also greatly improve the appearance of your teeth with dental veneers.

7.  Mouth Sores

Common mouth sores include:

  • Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) occur inside the mouth and not on the lips. They aren't contagious and can be triggered by many different causes.
  • Fever blisters and cold sores are caused by the Herpes simplex virus, they occur on the edge of the outer lips and are contagious. They come and go but can't be cured.
  • Thrush (oral candidiasis) also known as yeast infection sores in the mouth can occur in infants, denture wearers, people with diabetes, and people treated for cancer.

Though painful, most mouth sores are not worrisome unless they last more than two weeks.

For cold sores and candidiasis we can prescribe medication to treat and shorten the duration of condition.

6. Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem. It affects millions of people. Sensitivity involves pain or discomfort from:

  • Sweets
  • Cold air
  • Hot drinks
  • Cold drinks
  • Cold food

Sensitivity can be a sign of a cracked or abscessed tooth, or a root infection. Those need to be treated, otherwise you risk losing a tooth or getting an infection in your jaw bone.

Sensitive teeth can make it painful to brush and floss, however sensitive teeth can be treated.

5. Toothaches and Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies can be painful and scary. They require urgent treatment just like any emergency.

Common problems that require an urgent trip to the dentist include:

  • A broken or cracked tooth—these can cause a lot of pain.
  • Losing a tooth knocked in an accident
  • An abscessed tooth—A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that's caused by a bacterial infection. The abscess can occur at different areas near the tooth for different reasons.

Common causes for cracked teeth include:

  • Injury
  • Chewing hard foods
  • Mouth piercings
  • Grinding of teeth while you sleep

Call us right away about any of these issues.

4. Receding Gums

Receding gums can be caused by and can lead to other common dental problems. The tendency to have receding gums might also be genetic (runs in the family). Receding gums can lead to more serious issues, such as losing a tooth. This is because the condition exposes the delicate root of the tooth, making it susceptible to damage.

Common causes include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Brushing your teeth too hard
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal fluctuations (for women)

Dental care for receding gums includes a thorough cleaning of teeth by a dental professional. Proper brushing techniques are important. Severe cases may need to be treated with a gum graft or other form of surgery.

3. Bad Breath

Bad breath can affect close relationships and social ones. Often times, we are the last to realize we have it and that others are avoiding us or miserable around us. More importantly, it is often indicative of underlying health issues, including some serious ones. It can be addressed by determining the cause and treating it.

Common causes include:

  • Gum disease
  • Cavities
  • Oral cancer
  • Dry mouth
  • Tooth root infection
  • Bacteria on the tongue

2. Unattractive Smile

Technically, an unattractive smile isn't a "dental problem." But it is a common reason for people go to the dentist. And not liking your teeth and smile can affect self-esteem and emotional health. Thanks to modern tools and techniques, cosmetic concerns are often fixable.

Cosmetic treatments can include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • White fillings
  • Veneers
  • Porcelain crowns and bridges
  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontics (teeth straightening)
  • Bonding
  • Inlays/Onlays

1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay—cavities—is the second most common health problem in the United States. It's topped only by the common cold.

Tooth decay occurs when plaque combines with sugars and/or starches of the food you eat. The combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel.

You can get cavities at any age! It’s not just children. Aging and normal enamel erosion can cause them. So can dry mouth due to age, illness, or medications.

The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental check-ups. We can provide you fluoride rinses and Xylitol products that can aid in the prevention of tooth decay.

Also, eat healthy foods and avoid high-sugar snacks and drinks.

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