Oral Health & Common Prevention –
All of these common dental problems can be prevented and kept at bay with very simple day-to-day oral hygiene measures. Brushing in the morning and before bed alone won’t be enough to make sure your oral health is on tip-top shape.
Much like everything else, you have to spend some money on your dental needs. Pay your dentist a visit regularly. Get your teeth checked and cleaned on a regular basis as well. These might be simple steps but you lessen the chances of you getting dental problems that can lead to something worse.
Aside from these, limit your intake of foods that will contribute to the build-up of plaque on your teeth like the following:
- Sweets – hard or soft candies, caramel, chocolate, cookies, etc.
- Carbonated drinks – they’re very high in sugar which bacteria feeds off of
- Snacks – most store-bought snacks have loads of sugar, sodium and other preservatives that are harmful to your teeth enamel
If you’ve been smoking for a while now, you might want to start decreasing your nicotine intake. Smoking leads not only to teeth stains but can lead to oral, throat, and lung cancer as well. If you don’t smoke, keep it that way.
For those who are heavy drinkers by habit, drink in moderation. Alcohol also contributes to many dental problems especially if you don’t have a habit of brushing after.
Develop and religiously practice a healthy dental habit as well. Expand to more than just brushing your teeth in the morning and before bed. Include flossing every other day and gargling with mouthwash after you brush to help get rid of bacteria.
And, as basic as this sound, drink more water. Water helps keep your mouth hydrated and clean. Also, use a toothpaste brand that’s high in fluoride. That will help strengthen the enamel around your teeth!
Dental problems can be prevented and completely avoided if you be responsible for your oral health. If you take hours a day in the gym to keep your figure, you should show the same dedication to your oral hygiene. Keeping your oral health up by staying away from food that contributes to plaque build-up is also a step in taking care of your fitness. That’s hitting two birds with one stone!
Also, if you notice any abnormalities with your oral health, it’s always advisable to consult your dentist for early prevention. Don’t ignore a small growth, consistent mouths sores, toothaches, or even something as simple as bad breath. Prevention is better than cure.
All in all, this boils down to discipline, self-control, and responsibility.
Click here for Preventing and treating common dental problems-
For most people, the basics of good dental hygiene are taught from a very early age – and with good reason. Teeth serve multiple purposes, all of which are important to vary degrees. A person’s ability to masticate is perhaps the primary reason for teeth, as it helps make the digestion of food possible.
One’s appearance, from their smile to the shape of their face, is also dependent on their teeth. As useful and important as teeth are, however, they are not indestructible. In fact, they are susceptible to a number of problems that can potentially result in their loss. Fortunately, these problems are often preventable if a person adheres to good dental habits. To develop these habits, it is important to understand what the potential threats are and how to avoid them.
Halitosis, which is commonly known as bad breath, is a problem in which a person’s breath has an unpleasant or foul odor. Problems with bad breath may be caused by a number of things, such as lingering food particles in the mouth, recently eaten malodorous food items, dryness of the mouth, poor dental hygiene, mouth infections, or illness.
Resolving bad breath is dependent on its cause. For some, bad breath may be resolved by simply brushing the teeth to remove plaque buildup and brushing the tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper to remove bacteria. When dental disease or infection is the source, treatment by a dentist may be necessary.
Good dental hygiene is also an important part of preventing bad breath. In addition, toothbrushes should be replaced every three months, and people should schedule regular dental exams and cleanings. Bad breath caused by dry mouth may be prevented by chewing on gum or drinking water at regular intervals.
The gums are the tissue inside the mouth that serves as a support for the teeth. When they become infected due to toxins produced by plaque, it is called periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. There are two basic types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Of the two, gingivitis is a milder form and is reversible.
When people have gingivitis, they may notice that their gums are red and swollen, and at times, there may be some bleeding. Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. It is an advanced stage of gum disease in which plaque spreads beyond the gum line.
When a person has this type of gum disease, bacteria can cause deterioration of the gums and destruction of tooth-supporting bones. In addition, it can lead to loose teeth and/or tooth loss.
Prevention is key when it comes to gum disease. Proper brushing and flossing techniques to remove plaque and bacteria are important. Teeth should be brushed after meals, and one should floss between the teeth at least once a day to remove hidden debris and plaque.
People with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, should talk with their dentist about their health and the risk of gum disease. Proper maintenance of these health conditions may also help reduce the risk of gum disease. Treatment of gum disease ranges from non-surgical procedures to treatments that require surgery.
Surgical procedures include gum graft surgery and periodontal pocket reduction. Non-surgical treatments include scaling and root paining and antibiotics to treat any infection.
The sensitive nerves of the teeth are covered by a layer called dentin. Dentin may become exposed due to factors such as receding gums and/or gum disease, age, overzealous brushing, or even tooth-whitening products. Once the dentin exposure happens, a person can experience irritation or pain from eating foods that are sweet, hot, cold, or acidic. Even breathing in very cold air can cause pain.
This is a condition that is called tooth sensitivity. The pain that people feel is due to the many microscopic channels in the dentin that lead to the inner part of the tooth called the pulp. A tooth’s pulp is made up of nerves and blood vessels. When the dentin is exposed, the nerves become irritated when certain foods are eaten.
Fortunately, tooth sensitivity is preventable with good oral care. By properly brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing one’s teeth, and reducing the consumption of acidic and sugary foods, it is possible to prevent the recession of gums that leads to sensitivity.
If the sensitivity of the teeth is already a problem, treatment is required. A dental appointment will be necessary to determine the actual cause of sensitivity. Treatment may involve at-home solutions, such as using a fluoride rinse or brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste or a high-fluoride toothpaste. In-office treatments may include fluoride varnishes over the root surface, fillings to cover the exposed roots or the use of plastic resin or dentin sealers.
Tooth discoloration, or yellowing of the teeth, is a condition in which the teeth become stained or discolored. There are numerous potential causes for tooth yellowing, including excess fluoride, plaque and/or tartar buildup, aging, smoking, medications, or certain types of food. Preventing yellowing of the teeth is not always possible, particularly when it is associated with genetics.
For other people, yellowing may be prevented by avoiding certain foods that are acidic or foods that are high in tannins and that may stain the teeth, or by making changes in lifestyle such as quitting smoking. Having the teeth cleaned every six months by a dental hygienist may also help to prevent teeth from turning yellow.
To treat this problem, a person may see their dentist about in-office teeth-whitening procedures. Over-the-counter teeth-whitening is also an option for many. Other options to discuss with a dentist are veneers or dental bonding for a more improved appearance.
When plaque forms on the teeth, it produces acids. These acids, which are sticky, adhere to the teeth, and attack the enamel. If not properly removed, the plaque can damage the tooth enamel. This condition is called tooth decay, and if it is left untreated, it can result in cavities or small holes in the teeth.
According to the University of Chicago Medicine, tooth decay is a disease that is so prevalent that only the common cold is more common. Tooth decay is caused by improper brushing or failure to regularly brush one’s teeth, health conditions such as diabetes, consuming sugary foods, dry mouth, and smoking. Lack of fluoride also contributes to dental decay.
Tooth decay is highly preventable with basic oral maintenance, such as flossing daily and brushing the teeth for two minutes following every meal or, at minimum, twice a day. When brushing one’s teeth, fluoride toothpaste is important, as the fluoride helps teeth resist decay by hardening the enamel.
Treatment of mild tooth decay may be resolved by improving one’s habits in terms of dental hygiene and the use of a daily fluoride mouth rinse. If tooth decay has led to the formation of cavities, it may require treatment based on its severity.
Treatment options include removing the decay and filling the hole with a dental filling, replacing a part of the tooth with a crown, or removing infected pulp during a procedure known as a root canal. Tooth decay may become so bad that these treatment options are not viable. When this is the case, the dentist may suggest removing the tooth altogether.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body; however, acids from bacteria and certain food and drink are corrosive and can begin to wear away tooth enamel. When this happens, it is called tooth erosion. In addition to bacteria and acidic food and drink such as sodas and juices, tooth erosion may also be caused by digestive problems such as vomiting, as stomach acid is highly corrosive.
This is particularly problematic for people who suffer from disorders or illnesses that cause frequent bouts of vomiting. Tooth erosion may be exacerbated by dry mouth, as saliva works to neutralize teeth-corroding acids in the mouth.
Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush after eating and drinking is only the first step in preventing tooth erosion. Eating a slice of cheese or drinking milk can help to neutralize acids in the mouth. Reducing the number of acidic drinks consumed is also a major preventative step. Saliva may also be stimulated by chewing a stick of gum. When buying chewing gum, sugar-free gums that contain xylitol are most effective and safest for the teeth.
There are various types of sores that can appear on the gums, tongue, inner cheeks, lips, or at the bottom of the mouth. They can range from mild sores that appear due to irritation, such as biting one’s cheek, to more serious sores that are indicative of illness such as cancer of the mouth. The most common sores of the mouth include canker and cold sores.
Canker sores are non-contagious and may be caused by hormone changes, stress, a weakening of the immune system, certain health conditions, or a lack of vitamins such as iron or B12. These types of sores are more common in women than in men and have a yellowish appearance with a white center and a red outer ring.
Herpes simplex virus causes cold sores that, unlike canker sores, are highly contagious. These sores only appear on the mouth when triggered by stress, exposure to the sun, hormone changes, or fever and illness. This type of sore starts off as blister clusters before crusting over.
Prevention of mouth sores depends on the type of sore. People who frequently get sores from bites to the inner cheek can prevent them by chewing more slowly and carefully. Using care when drinking hot foods can help prevent sores from burns. Canker and cold sores may be prevented by reducing stress, which is a trigger for both. Antiviral medications may also be given to help prevent cold sores from appearing.
Treating simple sores that occur due to irritation typically involves soothing the irritation. A person may take over-the-counter pain relievers or gargle with cool or saltwater. Canker sores may be treated by applying a paste of baking soda and water. Icing cold sores and using over-the-counter creams and drying agents may also be helpful.
A doctor should be seen if it is a new sore with no apparent cause if the sore is accompanied by fever, difficulty swallowing or drooling. Sores that last for several weeks should also be seen by a doctor. Treatment by medical professionals depends on the type of sore and its severity.
Pain that radiates from the teeth is called a toothache. There can be several causes for a toothache; however, one of the most common is caused by an inflammation of the pulp called pulpitis. Pulpitis is a result of tooth decay and cavities. Toothaches may also be caused by other problems, such as a wisdom tooth erupting, gum infections, or cracked or otherwise damaged teeth.
A toothache can be prevented when a person takes steps to prevent tooth decay and cavities. This includes brushing and flossing regularly and eating a healthy diet. If a person has a toothache, they should consult a dentist to determine the exact cause.
This is important, as a toothache that lasts could indicate that the tooth is dying and require immediate action. A toothache that is accompanied by swelling or fever could also indicate an infection that may spread. Dentists treat toothaches according to the underlying cause. Treatment may range from antibiotics to tooth extraction.
Tooth Crowding –
Tooth crowding isn’t only an aesthetic dental problem. It can cause alignment issues that eventually can cause temporomandibular jaw disorder or TMJ. Misaligned bites can cause jaw problems that might need surgery to fix.
Fixing tooth crowding would be the best way – through the lengthy procedure – prevent jaw disorders and misaligned bites. This naturally for many. When baby teeth fall out and new teeth come out in a peculiar position, crowding may ensue. Teeth also shift without the person knowing so it may eventually result in getting them realigned.
Braces are the go-to treatment for teeth crowding with severe realignment needed. Depending on the crowding, orthodontists might even suggest extraction to make room for teeth to shift. If it doesn’t require extensive realignment, one might opt for clear aligners called Invisalign.
It requires more discipline since they need to be taken out when eating, cleaned before putting them back on, and replaced every fortnight. But, for those who don’t want the aesthetic disadvantage of mental braces, this would be the way to go.
Visit an orthodontist to see if you have teeth crowding.
Root Infection –
If you’ve heard of or tried a root canal treatment, then you know a root infection is a serious problem. It’s painful and very uncomfortable. Root infection occurs when bacteria infect the root part of your tooth. It enters the center of your tooth and attacks the pulp tissue inside. You will experience what you might rule off as a generic toothache. Eventually, an abscess will form indicating that the root infection has developed to a more severe case. If you do not see any abscess but have persisting pain, visit your local dentist.
Possibly, a root canal procedure might be advised and though many people think it is a painful process, it’s actually not. Dentists give their patients anesthesia and one would hardly feel any pain. You would feel the movement and pressure of the tools but there won’t be any pain until the anesthesia wears off.
The healing part is where the pain comes in along with a bit of swelling that an ice pack can’t alleviate. During a root canal procedure, the dental surgeon or endodontist drills a hole through the middle of your tooth. He then takes a file to grind away the damaged surface and provide access to the root.
Once the opening has been made, a special suction tool is used to suck out all the pus and infected tissue. It is then sealed with a gutta-percha which is a hardening material that will keep bacteria from entering the root again as well as strengthen the tooth.
Oral Cancer –
Oral cancer is the deadliest dental problem one can encounter. A study done by the Oral Cancer Foundation shows the drastic numbers of oral cancer. Oral cancer is considered to be ahead and neck cancer. Of all the head and neck cancer cases in the United States, 85% of that is oral cancer.
In the US alone, approximately 54,000 diagnosed cases have been reported resulting in 13,500 deaths per year. The numbers alone are enough to emphasize the seriousness of this dental problem. Oral cancer death rates are higher than other kinds of cancer because it doesn’t present any pain or primary symptoms.
It starts with a small pinkish growth in the mouth. It’s unlikely to be noticed since our mouths don’t innately have smooth surfaces and are naturally pink or reddish in color. This is why a visit to your dentist will help. Dentists know what to look out for on regular check-ups and would be able to recommend further testing if needed.
Oral cancer is commonly caused by smoking and drinking. Smokers – heavy or light – need to undergo regular dental check-ups and cleaning to decrease the chance of getting oral cancer. The same goes for those who like to indulge in alcoholic drinks.
Tooth Loss –
Many of the common dental problems we’ve already discussed can lead to tooth loss. The periodontal disease eventually leads to this if not treated immediately. Tooth decay can also lead to extraction if the tooth can no longer be saved. The same goes for root infections. Consequently, when this happens you only have two options: dentures or dental implants.
Of course, as we age, our teeth also weaken from all the years of chewing, biting, and grinding. Even if you don’t have any serious dental problems, you are still at risk of tooth loss because it does come with age. WHO’s (World Help Organization) study shows that 30% of people in the world who are between the ages of 65-74 have no natural teeth.
That’s the reason why seniors need dentures. Harsh truth but that’s the cycle of life. It’s not something to dread though. Because of dental technology and techniques innovations, it’s now possible to permanently restore teeth with dental implants.
Dental implants are permanently lodged into your jaw, making them durable, strong, and long-lasting. They look and feel like natural teeth and restores function completely. The procedure is done over several sessions to give the patient to heal but has been the choice of many older patients.
Of course, dentures are still an option for those who want a more affordable and quicker solution. There are partial and full dentures one can get depending on the severity of tooth loss.
Toothache and Dental Emergencies –
While many toothaches and dental emergencies can be easily avoided just by regular visits to the dentist, accidents can and do happen. Having a dental emergency can be very painful and scary. Common problems that require an urgent trip to your dentist include a broken or cracked tooth, an abscessed tooth, or a tooth knocked out in an accident.
Go to a hospital for trauma care if you have a fractured or dislocated jaw or severe cuts to your tongue, lips, or mouth. If you have a tooth abscess that is causing difficulty swallowing or you have developed a fever or facial swelling, get emergency care as well.
Unattractive Smile –
While an unattractive smile is not technically a “dental problem,” it is a major reason why many patients seek dental treatment. An unattractive smile can really lower a person’s self-esteem. Luckily, with today’s technologies and developments, anyone can have a beautiful smile.
Whether it’s teeth whitening, dental implants, orthodontics, or other cosmetic dental work, chances are that your dentist can give you the smile of your dreams.
Click here for Faq’s about going to the dentist –
Whether you are 80 or 8, your oral health is important. Did you know that 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year, even though regular dental examinations and good oral hygiene can prevent most dental disease? Here are some frequently asked questions about going to the dentist.
Why do regular dental visits matter –
Regular dental visits are important because they can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many problems from developing in the first place. Visiting your dentist regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.
What are some signs I should see a Dentist –
- Your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold
- Your gums are puffy and/or they bleed when you brush or floss
- You have fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, etc.
- You don’t like the way your smile or teeth look
- You have persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- You are pregnant
- You have pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck
- You have difficulty chewing or swallowing
- You have a family history of gum disease or tooth decay
- You have a medical condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders or are HIV positive
- Your mouth is often dry
- You smoke or use other tobacco products
- You are undergoing medical treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy
- Your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up; you have an uneven bite
- You have a spot or sore that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth and it isn’t going away
I’m not having any symptoms. Do I still need to see a dentist –
Yes. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still have dental health problems that only a dentist can diagnose. Regular dental visits will also help prevent problems from developing. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception.
Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s also important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health since many medical conditions can affect your dental health too.
What can I expect during dental check-up –
The dentist or hygienist will ask about your recent medical history, examine your mouth, and decide whether or not you need x-rays. Depending on your treatment plan, the hygienist may use special dental instruments to check your gums for gum disease. Your dentist will evaluate your overall dental health and conduct an oral cancer screening by holding your tongue with gauze, checking it, and your whole mouth, then feeling your jaw and neck.
How often do I have to go to a dentist –
There is no one-size-fits-all dental treatment. Some people need to visit the dentist once or twice a year; others may need more visits. You are a unique individual, with a unique smile and unique needs when it comes to keeping your smile healthy.
How do I find a dentist –
Almost all countries have Dental Associations (DA) wherein they have registered dentists and classified state and city wise for search.
- Ask family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for recommendations.
- Ask your family physician or local pharmacist.
- If you’re moving, your current dentist may be able to make a recommendation.
- Call or write your state/city dental society.
What should I look for choosing a dentist –
You may want to call or visit more than one dentist before making your decision. Dental care is a very personalized service that requires a good relationship between the dentist and the patient. During your first visit, you should be able to determine if this is the right dentist for you.
Consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
- Is the office easy to get to from your home or job?
- Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques that will help you prevent dental health problems? Is dental health instruction provided?
- Are special arrangements made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
- Is information provided about fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the DA? All DA member dentists voluntarily agree to abide by the high ethical standards reflected in the member code of conduct. You and your dentist are partners in maintaining your oral health. Take time to ask questions and take notes if that will help you remember your dentist’s advice.
What’s the difference between BDS and DDS –
If you’re looking to find a dentist you may notice that while most are listed with a “DDS”, some may be listed as “BDS”. They both mean the same thing—your dentist graduated from an accredited dental school. The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) are the same degrees.
Dentists who have a BDS or DDS have the same education. The level of education and clinical training required to earn a dental degree, and the high academic standards of dental schools are on par with those of medical schools. Upon completion of their training, dentists must pass both a rigorous national written exam and a state or regional clinical licensing exam in order to practice.
In order to keep their licenses, they must meet continuing education requirements for the remainder of their careers so that they may stay up to date on the latest scientific and clinical developments. We also have masters/postgraduates ( MDS ) in dentistry. They have mastered one of the streams of Dentistry like Orthodontist, Endodontist, Periodontist Etc.
How can I maintain a healthy smile with my dentist’s help?
Here are some tips to help you take care of your smile:
- Healthy habits. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily are essential for everyone, no matter how unique your mouth is. It’s the best way to fight tooth decay and gum disease.
- Build a relationship. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception. When your dentist sees you regularly, he or she is in a good position to catch oral problems early. For instance, catching gum disease when it’s still reversible, or cavities when they are small and are more easily treated.
- Maintain. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health as well.
- Talk about it! Only your dentist can determine what the best treatment plan is for you. Have questions about your oral health or certain dental procedures? Start a conversation. Ask your dentist to explain step-by-step. Dentists love having satisfied, healthy patients.