Taking care of your teeth and following a regular dental hygiene routine is one of those life forming habits that will help prevent common dental problems. In addition to taking care of your teeth, staying fit and healthy as well as having regular check-ups with your family dentist, means you get to keep that winning smile. Understanding the 6 most common dental problems and what causes them is the starting point.
1. Halitosis or bad breath
Ever noticed that people move away from you at times when you are speaking, particularly if up close and personal? It could be because even if you do rinse with a mouth wash, you may have an underlying heath condition that causes an unpleasant odour on your breath. Gum disease is one of the most common causes of bad breath along with tooth decay, as infections can cause an unpleasant odour to appear. Unhealthy gums and teeth are also an indication of other problems in the body, so halitosis can act as a warning signal. Oral cancer and bacteria that appear on the tongue are also a contributor to halitosis.
Getting a regular check up with your dentist and brushing the teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste will help prevent bad odours. Avoiding smoking will also help, along with making sure that you floss or use an interdental toothbrush to remove the plaque between the teeth. Using a toothbrush that has a tongue scraper on the back of the head will also help keep the tongue clear and clean.
2. Dental cavities
If you asked a number of people what noise they dread the most (apart from crying babies at three in the morning), often the sound of the dentist drill is up there in the top ten. Tooth decay which necessitates drilling and filling the tooth to preserve the structure and prevent further decay and pain, is something the majority of us would prefer to avoid. Plaque found on teeth combines with the sugary food that we eat, and remains on our teeth unless removed, to form an acidic substance which attacks the tooth enamel.
Tooth enamel is the hard-white material that protects the tooth, nerves and pulpy mass inside the tooth from exposure to the outside world and if compromised, minute holes in the enamel appear. Nerve endings exposed to the air, or cold or hot food and drink will cause pain in the mouth and unless the holes are repaired, the tooth starts to decay. Proper and regular cleaning of the teeth along with flossing will help prevent cavities appearing. Cutting down on sugary food and drinks, along with booking in professional cleaning of the teeth and check-ups with your dentist who will pick on any problems at an early stage, is a key part of the prevention plan.
3. Gum disease
One sign of gum disease is finding traces of blood when cleaning and rinsing your mouth. Sore and inflamed gums are another sign and this can be caused by the build-up of plaque which, if not removed by daily cleaning, can harden. There are 2 types of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis – the first can be seen when experiencing the symptoms described above and if not treated, it can then move to the second stage. Periodontitis could lead to tooth loss, as spaces occur between gum and tooth, and the bone into which the molars are fixed, becomes weak. Again, this can be avoided by gentle regular taking care of your teeth through brushing, flossing to remove plaque and regular dental check-ups.
4. Sensitive teeth
If you dread eating an ice cream or holding your breath when taking a hot drink, it could be you are suffering from sensitive teeth. Even brushing may cause some pain or discomfort and you are not alone in experiencing this. There are a number of theories put forward as to how this happens and the most commonly accepted is the “fluid movement” theory.
Inside the tooth, there is a pulpy mass made up of nerves and blood plasma. When the tooth is exposed to heat, cold, brushing or tactile stimulation, the fluid inside the tooth reacts and responds by a change in the way it flows. Gentle cleaning and reducing the amount of acidic food and drink in the diet helps to reduce this form of sensitivity.
5. Mouth ulcers
Usually not a big problem, mouth ulcers, however, can be very irritating and not a sign of anything serious, left alone they will clear up by themselves. Often experienced after having orthodontic braces fitted to the teeth as the tongue and mouth can be irritated by the metal causing small cuts and grazes. There are things that you can do to avoid an ulcer by using a soft bristled toothbrush and avoiding rough crunchy foods for example. If they do not go away after 2 weeks then it is wise to seek advice from your dentist or doctor, as they could be mouth sores that may be indications of underlying illness.
6. Broken or cracked tooth
This will usually mean an emergency trip to your family dentist in Blackburn and can often occur as a result of trauma to the tooth. Sports injuries or eating hard chewy foods, can result in a cracked tooth as well as head traumas. Using gum shields when playing contact sports will help as well as being careful about the sort of food you eat.
Make sure you and your family regularly clean, floss and check in with a dentist to keep looking good and feeling even better.