5 Most Common Dental Diseases and How to Avoid Them
The majority of people know they need to visit their dentist at least twice per year to avoid oral health issues, but most don’t understand the various dental diseases they can develop when proper care measures are not followed. Here are five of the top dental diseases and how to avoid them.
CavitiesBy far the most common problem dental patients experience is cavities. Bacteria, acids, and food particles coat teeth and form plaque. The acids produced erode the tooth enamel and damage the underlying dentin. Once that happens, cavities occur and must be treated to prevent more damage and tooth loss The easiest way to avoid cavities is to follow routine preventative measures as recommended by dental experts. It’s always a good idea to prioritize oral health by brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular tooth cleaning visits to your dentist. Proper oral health care is the most important strategy for preventing cavities. Even following care protocols won’t eliminate the potential for developing cavities. However, when patients schedule routine visits to their dentist, it’s likely any cavities will be discovered when they’re small and easy to treat. Your dentist can also make recommendations based on your unique circumstances to prevent additional cavities from developing in the future.
Gum DiseaseAnother common issue dental patients experience is gum disease, which is also called gingivitis. Gingivitis typically causes gums to swell and bleed, especially during brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is reversible when caught early, but when treatment is delayed, the condition advances and leads to periodontal disease. Patients with periodontal disease are strongly encouraged to seek treatment as quickly as possible since, if the disease is allowed to progress, the result will be tooth loss. In its worst stages, periodontal disease can also lead to infections of the jaw and other bones. Remember, it’s essential to monitor the condition of your gums when you brush your teeth and floss. Healthy gums are pink and fit tightly against the teeth. If your gums swell or appear puffy, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. In addition, bleeding gums, bad breath, pain when chewing, and other issues also signal the need to seek care from your dentist. Dental experts routinely state periodontal disease is preventable when patients brush and floss their teeth at least twice per day and schedule routine screenings with their dentist. While advanced periodontal disease will often result in tooth loss, obtaining proper care as soon as an issue is noticed will significantly reduce tooth loss and the threat of an infection spreading to other parts of your body.
Different types of mouth sores can occur, and most are treatable and will disappear within a couple of weeks. However, there are some sores that won’t go away easily and may reoccur. Any time sores appear, it’s a good idea to contact your dentist’s office for advice. Probably the most common type of mouth sore is a canker sore. These sores appear inside the mouth rather than on your lips. Although canker sores can be uncomfortable, they don’t generally require treatment from a professional. The exception is that, if they don’t go away after two weeks, contacting your dentist for an appointment may be wise. Cold sores, or fever blisters, are caused by a virus and can be spread from one person to another. Again, cold sores are not generally serious enough to require a visit to your dentist, but it’s always a good idea to use common sense and contact an expert if a sore doesn’t go away within a few days. In addition, it’s important to remember these sores can’t be completely cured and they might return. The final type of mouth sore commonly seen is oral thrush. Thrush affects a range of people, including denture wearers, diabetics, and even infants. Since oral thrush is a yeast infection, it can be difficult to treat and may spread to the digestive system if it’s not caught and treated early. Patients who discover mouth lesions are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their dentist as soon as possible. The treatment for thrush will include a strategy to stop the spread of the fungus, but that strategy will vary depending on a patient’s age, overall health, and the underlying cause of the condition.
Tooth SensitivityDental patients frequently complain their teeth are sensitive to heat, cold, and sweets. While tooth sensitivity may be common, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated. In some cases, the sensitivity is caused by a cracked tooth or an abscess. Both of those conditions should be addressed as quickly as possible by your dentist. Other cases may be caused by minor issues a dentist can address quickly and effectively. If you can’t schedule an appointment immediately, there are simple treatments to try at home to relieve any discomfort. Desensitizing toothpaste helps most users to reduce or eliminate discomfort temporarily. Other solutions include using a saltwater rinse, honey and warm water, hydrogen peroxide, and even turmeric or green tea. However, none of these should be a substitute for receiving professional care from your dentist.
Erosion is caused by acid attacking the enamel, which is similar to the way cavities form. However, tooth erosion can be more widespread and impact more of a tooth (or several teeth). In addition, erosion may result from excessive wear, stress, or friction. Erosion is common and is generally treatable by your dentist. The treatment a dentist will recommend depends on the root cause of the problem. When erosion is allowed to progress, a dentist may recommend tooth bonding to resolve the issue and, at the same time, improve the look of the affected tooth (or teeth). In severe cases, where significant enamel loss precludes less-extreme solutions, a dentist may suggest a crown or veneer to resolve the problem.
Take Proper Precautions Now
The conditions described here are certainly not the only ones impacting oral health, which means working with a dentist is important to identify and treat a variety of dental issues. If it’s been a while since you last scheduled an appointment with your dentist, do so now to avoid or reduce the impact of dental diseases.