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Here are the top ten dental problems to look out for…and it’s more than just cavities!
85% of people with chronic bad breath actually suffer from a condition! Conditions that usually cause bad breath are more serious than the bad breath itself. Cavities, gum disease, oral cancer and dry mouth are all conditions that can cause halitosis. If you notice you have chronic bad breath, visit a dentist to find out what the underlying problem is.
Believe it or not, but cavities are classified as a disease and are actually the most common chronic disease for those ages 6-19. Tooth decay happens when the sugars we eat combine with the plaque on our teeth, forming acid that erodes the protective enamel of the tooth.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, usually occurs after age 30 and is an infection of the gums. It can cause bleeding gums, bad breath, sensitive teeth, and tooth loss. Periodontal disease can also cause heart complications. The bacteria from inflamed gums can travel to the heart through the bloodstream and cause plaque to build up, making it difficult for blood to reach all the different parts of the body. This leaves you at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke. If you notice your gums are bleeding and swollen, ask your dentist what steps you can take to help prevent periodontal disease.
Oral cancer is usually seen in people over the age of 40, and those who smoke, use chewing tobacco, consume alcohol or have HPV are at a higher risk of developing the disease. It is estimated that someone dies every hour from oral cancer, however, if it is detected early it is treatable. Symptoms include having a hard time chewing and moving your jaw or tongue, sores, lumps, or rough areas of the mouth, and/or difficulty swallowing.
Mouth sores can be a pain and sometimes unsightly! The most common sores are canker sores, inside of the mouth. They are not contagious but are triggered by a variety of causes such as stress, allergies, acidic foods or beverages, and minor mouth injuries to name a few. Other common sores are cold sores, located on the outside of the mouth. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are only partially curable, as they continue to come and go. They are contagious however, an estimated 90% of American adults have been exposed to the virus.
Enamel erosion is caused by acid breaking down the protective layer of the tooth. Enamel loss or erosion can cause other problems such as tooth cracks and tooth sensitivity. Take a look at our blog post on how to tell if your tooth is cracked to find out if you are suffering from any of the symptoms.
Tooth sensitivity affects millions of people. Many people experience sensitivity when drinking hot or cold beverages, or eating sweets. Thankfully tooth sensitivity can be treated. Your dentist will typically recommend a toothpaste developed for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne, as well as potential treatments if your sensitivity is due to a cracked tooth or a tooth abscess.
Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that typically require extraction because of misalignment. Most people that get their wisdom teeth removed usually do so in their late teens or early twenties. Your dentist can tell, based on the positioning of your wisdom teeth, the best way to remove them and if you even need to at all. Typically people visit an oral surgeon to get their wisdom teeth removed and usually recover in a few days. Click here to learn more about wisdom teeth.
Our teeth get more yellow and discolored as we age. Naturally, our enamel gets thinner over time making our smile more yellow. Dark foods and beverages like red wine, coffee, soda and blueberries can also stain teeth. The most common way to prevent yellowing teeth and stains is to brush and floss your teeth regularly, drink dark beverages from a straw, and drink plenty of water to wash away dark food juices. If you want to whiten your teeth for cosmetic purposes, read our blog on everything you need to know before getting your teeth whitened.
If you know that you grind your teeth, either because it wakes you up or your partner tells you so, it’s best to go and see a dentist. Grinding can be a stress-response, and if you lead a high-stress life your grinding is not likely to go away. A mouth guard can help by being a protective barrier between your teeth, although it will not stop you from continually grinding or clenching your jaw muscles.
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