How you take care of your dental health can be evident in your general health. In fact, a lot of people consider their dental health as the gateway to their general or overall health.
This works because your mouth serves as the entry point to your respiratory and digestive tracts, and having good oral care ensures that your body’s natural defenses are working properly.
Your oral health is important, which is why you should always prioritize taking care of it. Aside from daily regular brushing and flossing, you should also work with a family dentist to ensure that your mouth is healthy.
Working with dentists advertised on Familydentalhealth.com and other reputable online resources will make it easy for you to have a healthy mouth without spending a lot of money. The more often you see your local dentist, the easier it’ll be for you and your family to achieve the best oral health condition.
While some oral problems are minor and can be treated using home remedies, others are severe and can worsen over time. When not addressed promptly, these oral problems can take a toll on your productivity and, in worse cases, adversely affect the quality of your life.
If you notice any of the dental concerns listed below, see an experienced dentist right away:
1. Bad Breath
The condition of your oral health can affect your mental health. It’ll be very challenging for you to socialize with other people or seize more opportunities in life if you’re too conscious about how your mouth smells.
How can you foster healthy relationships when your mouth stinks whenever you talk? How can you impress your employer if they start to cover their noses the moment you answer their questions? Thus, bad breath is a common oral problem that should be treated right away.
According to statistics, one in every four people all over the world suffers from bad breath on a regular basis. This particular oral problem is actually the third most common reason why people seek professional dental care, after tooth decay and gum disease.
Bad breath is usually caused by the following:
- Food: The food you regularly consume can affect your susceptibility to bad breath. This works because the ability of your mouth to break down food in and around your teeth increases bacteria that can result in a foul odor.
Eating certain foods such as garlic, onions, and other spices can increase your risk of bad breath, which is why it’s best if you minimize consuming these.
- Tobacco products: Although considered a stress reliever for some, smoking can actually have side effects on your oral health. Because of the compounds found in tobacco products, smoking can cause an unpleasant odor in your mouth, which can also lead to gum diseases.
- Poor dental hygiene: One of the most common reasons why people suffer from bad breath is because they have poor dental hygiene. If you don’t floss and brush daily, food particles will remain in your mouth and cause bad breath.
Leaving this problem unaddressed can result in plaques that can irritate your gums and tongue.
If you’re having a hard time determining if you’re suffering from bad breath, look for the following symptoms:
- A white coating on the surface and back of your tongue;
- Build up for plaque around your teeth;
- Constant bitter and sour taste;
- Dry mouth; and
- Morning bad breath and burning tongue.
2. Tooth Decay
Regardless of a person’s lifestyle, anyone in the world can experience tooth decay. You will be using your mouth to chew and break down food, which means that food particles can get stuck when you don’t brush properly. Once this happens, plaque will form around your teeth and gums.
Eventually, these will become sticky substances that’ll bind with the acids and starches from the foods you eat. This combination will attack your tooth enamel, making your tooth weak and yellowish.
Contrary to popular belief, tooth decay isn’t just a dental problem common in children. As you continue to age, you can still develop cavities and put your oral health at risk. People who don’t have enough saliva because of certain medicines and those who don’t get enough fluoride are at risk for tooth decay.
The most common causes of tooth decay are the following:
- Dry mouth: Your body naturally produces saliva to make it easy for your mouth to clean plaque from your teeth. With enough saliva, plaque doesn’t stay in your mouth for long, but instead, it exits the body naturally.
However, if you have a dry mouth or your body doesn’t produce enough levels of saliva, plaque tends to seep into your mouth and become the reason for your tooth decay.
- Eating and drinking: The foods and drinks you regularly consume play a significant role in the formation of cavities. Although you can always brush after eating and drinking, this is still not a 100% assurance that your mouth is free from food particles and carbohydrates.
Aside from paying attention to the foods you eat and minimizing your intake of sour candies, bread, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and dried fruits, it’s also important to improve your oral hygiene routine.
- Medical problems: Some medical conditions can put you at risk of developing tooth decay. Bulimia, for example, can cause tooth cavities because your teeth are exposed to stomach acid due to excessive vomiting.
Certain types of cancer treatments can also expose your neck and head to radiation that can promote tooth decay. This happens because radiation can actually change the natural composition of your saliva and promote increased bacterial growth.
Moreover, if you experience any of the signs listed below, you might be suffering from tooth decay:
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away even after frequent brushing and flossing
- Black, brown, and grey spots around your teeth;
- Continuous and severe pain caused by toothache;
- Tooth sensitivity to the point where you feel extreme pain and tenderness whenever you eat or drink anything cold, hot or sweet; and
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth.
3. Gum Or Periodontal Diseases
As the name suggests, gum or periodontal disease is the infection of the gums that surround the teeth. This is considered a severe gum infection that, when left untreated, can severely damage the soft tissues and bones that support your teeth. Gum or periodontal diseases can also cause tooth loss even in children and young adults.
Although common, gum and periodontal diseases are actually very preventable. Early diagnosis and regular dental check-ups can help you prevent this dental problem.
Listed below are some of the most common causes of gum or periodontal diseases:
- Plaques that form on your teeth: Foods and drinks usually contain different types of starches and sugars. When these interact with the natural liquids of your mouth and bind in your teeth, these can form plaque, which can result in gum diseases.
Although brushing is an effective way to remove plaque, keep in mind that plaque can reform quickly especially when you have poor eating habits and oral hygiene.
- Ongoing gum inflammation: Gum inflammation can create pockets between your teeth and gums that can be filled with bacteria, tartar, and plaque. The longer your gums are inflamed, the deeper these pockets can get. Over time, these pockets can be filled with bacteria that can cause deep infections leading to the weakness of your bones and tissues.
- Hormonal changes: As you experience pregnancy, puberty or menopause, your gums tend to become more sensitive, making it prone to gingivitis and other types of gum diseases.
Experiencing any of the signs listed below is a tell-tale sign that you have gum or periodontal diseases:
- A sudden change on how your teeth fit together whenever you bite;
- Gums that are always red, tender, and swollen;
- Gums that often bleed whenever you brush or floss your teeth;
- Gums that seem to have pulled away from the teeth;
- Pain when chewing even with soft foods
- Pus between your gums and teeth; and
- Several loose teeth.
4. Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is a serious dental problem that’s often characterized by a growing or sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away for a long period.
Oral cancer can also cause severe pain and discomfort to the floor of your mouth, lips, and tongue. When not diagnosed and treated early, oral cancer can be deadly as it can damage your sinuses and throat.
The most common causes of oral cancer are excessive alcohol and tobacco. These contain high levels of carcinogens that can damage the DNA of your cells and cause cancer. Aside from this, oral cancer can also be caused by drastic genetic changes in your body. When your cells grow at an extremely abnormal rate, they form a tumor.
The size becomes unmanageable to the point where the cancer cells already affect other parts of your mouth. People who regularly chew betel nuts and those who have a history of head and neck cancer are also susceptible to developing mouth cancer at some point in their lives.
The most common symptoms of oral cancer are:
- A chronic sore throat that can cause a sudden change in the voice;
- Difficulty in swallowing, chewing, speaking, and moving the jaw;
- Dramatic and sudden weight loss;
- Loss of feeling or unexplained numbness in the face, neck, and mouth;
- Lumps or bumps in the lips, gums, and other areas of your mouth;
- Persistent mouth pain;
- Severe and recurring ear pain; and
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
5. Tooth Sensitivity
Although considered as a minor dental problem, tooth sensitivity can adversely affect your daily routine and lifestyle. Having overly sensitive teeth will make it challenging for you to enjoy sweet, cold, and hot drinks.
Over time, this can become the reason why you’ll miss out on important gatherings with your friends and family, and leave a negative impression whenever you’re out with new people.
There are a lot of reasons why people suffer from tooth sensitivity, but the most common would be:
- Unhealthy lifestyle practices: When you brush your teeth too hard, the enamel from your teeth is stripped off, causing your teeth to become more sensitive to the foods and drinks that you consume. Enamel plays a critical role in your oral health because this actually functions as an invisible layer of protection that makes your teeth strong.
Aside from this, grinding your teeth at night and regularly consuming foods and drinks with high acidic content can also increase your susceptibility to tooth sensitivity.
- Medical conditions: Suffering from certain medical conditions can put you at risk of teeth sensitivity. Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), for one, can cause excessive amounts of acid to build up in the esophagus and stomach that can wear down the natural makeup of your teeth over time.
Conditions that can cause frequent vomiting, like bulimia and gastroparesis, can also wear down the enamel from your teeth, making them more sensitive to the foods and drinks you consume.
- Dental treatments: With the advent of technology, it’s now very easy to have a perfect smile. You can get dental crowns and undergo teeth bleaching to improve the appearance of your mouth. Although beneficial in the long run, these treatments can temporarily cause teeth sensitivity.
Listed below are some of the most common symptoms of tooth sensitivity:
- Experiencing sharp pain instead of milder pain;
- Obvious staining on the surface of your teeth;
- Severe pain when you bite or chew hot or cold foods;
- Spontaneous and severe tooth pain that occurs even without any apparent reason; and
- Tooth sensitivity localized to one or a few teeth.
Pay Attention To Symptoms
Dental concerns are common today, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do anything the moment you experience one. On the contrary, you should pay extra attention to the condition of your oral health and seek professional help once you notice any changes, abnormality, or pain.
The sooner you see your dentist about your dental concerns, the easier it’ll be for them to diagnose and treat the problem. Their prompt intervention will allow you to get back on track and help you accomplish more in life.