Our overall health starts with healthy mouth. Numerous researches found a connection between oral health problems and the functionality of other organs in our body, for example bad oral health can affect heart. Oral health problems are common and happen to every single one us. This article will list the most common oral health problems and their treatment.
1. Gum disease
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It is triggered by the growth of bacteria in your mouth and if not treated properly can lead to tooth loss. The biggest cause of gum disease is plaque, but other causes include:
- Hormonal Changes – e.g. pregnancy, menopause, puberty, menstruation.
- Various Illnesses – e.g. cancer, HIV, and diabetes.
- Medications – some medications can decrease* the flow of saliva.
- Poor Oral Hygiene – not brushing teeth or flossing regularly
- Family history of dental-related disease.
Symptoms of gum disease are:
- Gums bleed when you’re brushing your teeth
- Gums are red, swollen, and tender
- Bad breath, and feeling of bad taste in your mouth
- Receding gums
- Appearance of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- The way your teeth fit together when you bite down is changed.
Gum disease is treated in surgical and non-surgical way. Non-surgical treatments include professional dental cleaning (removal of plaque and tartar) and scaling and root planing (this process is done under local anesthesia and includes scraping away plaque and tarter (scaling), and rough spots on tooth’s root are smoothened (planing)). Surgical treatments include pocket reduction* surgery, bone grafts, soft tissue grafts, tissue regeneration, and bone surgery. The treatment is determined by the stage of disease.
You can prevent gum disease by brushing teeth and flossing regularly. Also, it’s recommended to visit a dentist twice a year for professional cleaning.
Cavities are result of tooth decay. The tooth decay can damage the inner layer of tooth (dentin) and the outer coating of your tooth (enamel). Cavity is caused when various foods, primarily carbohydrates, stay on your teeth. These foods are transformed into acids by bacteria in your mouth. Then, bacteria, saliva, acid, and food debris form plaque which stays on your teeth and causes cavities.
Cavity is indicated by frequent toothaches. Also, you feel pain when you drink something hot or cold, or if you eat something that is too sweet.
Treatment involves visit to your dentist where they will remove* decayed part of the tooth and fill in the hole with silver alloy, or porcelain.
Temporomandibular joint is the connection between your jaw and temporal bones in your skull. This joint allows you to move your jaw, talk, yawn, chew etc. Problems with this joint are called temporomandibular disorders or TMD, but you can come across the inaccurate expression TMJ. Causes of TMD aren’t completely discovered, but it is assumed that it’s the result of:
- Jaw injury
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Arthritis in the joint
Symptoms of TMD are:
- Pain in your face, shoulders, and neck when you talk, or yawn.
- Inability to open your mouth wide
- Swelling on one side of your face
- Troubles with chewing.
- Toothaches, headaches, earaches, dizziness.
TMD is treatable and you can do it with medications, heat or cold packs (applied to one side of your face for 10 minutes), eating soft food, dental work, injections, surgeries etc.
This is a term that refers to sore and inflamed mouth. It can occur on the inside of your cheeks, lips, tongue, and palate. There are three types of stomatitis: canker sore (pale or yellow ulcer that appears on your lip, tongue, or cheek), cold sore (or fever blister. It occurs around your lips), mouth irritation (caused by biting lip, or tongue, chewing tobacco, broken tooth, due to some medications).
Causes of stomatitis are relatively unknown but this condition can be a result of:
- Poor nutrition
- Weight loss*
- Flu (cold sore).
Symptoms of stomatitis are:
- Pain in certain part of tongue, cheek, or lips
- Canker sores last between 5 and 10 days, while cold sores are gone in 7 to 10 days.
- Cold sores are associated with flu symptoms.
Treating stomatitis is relatively easy. You should avoid hot foods and beverages, rinse with salt water, drink water, and take pain reliever.
5. Bad breath
This problem is not dangerous or painful, but it is uncomfortable and affects one’s self-esteem. The medical term for bad breath is halitosis and is a result of poor dental hygiene, dry mouth or some other dental problem (gum disease, cavity etc).
You can prevent bad breath by brushing your teeth regularly, visiting your dentist, ditching bad habits like smoking, drinking a lot of water, and purchasing a quality mouthwash.
Oral health problems are very common, but treatable. They are usually results of lifestyle choices or poor dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing teeth regularly can prevent these conditions. It’s always good idea to consult your dentist regarding the best treatment and prevention of common oral health problems.
You May Also Like: Important Dental Care Tips for a Lifetime of Healthy Teeth