Many of us experience an occasional dental problem. However, how do you know what it is and what you can do about it? Can you prevent it from happening in the future?
Let’s talk about a few simple dental issues and how we can identify and address them.
We all have bad breath from time to time. You might wake up and think, “Whoa! What died in my mouth overnight?” Maybe you ate a burger with extra onion or the garlic sauce on your pasta last night had more garlic than you expected. Those causes for bad breath are easy to identify.
Some aren’t so simple. Persistent bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a number of conditions. It may simply be that your mouth is dry, possibly from breathing through your mouth, or due to a condition known as chronic dry mouth.
Cavities, bacteria, and gum disease can also be causes of chronic bad breath. Be aware that sometimes more serious conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and gastrointestinal problems can cause bad breath as well.
Are you experiencing aching or sharp pain on, in, or around your teeth, particularly when consuming foods or drinks that are sugary, hot, or cold? You might be experiencing tooth decay.
Tooth decay will often cause discomfort or be downright painful depending on how advanced the decay is. Tooth decay is due to the overgrowth of plaque in your mouth and your failure to keep it in check with proper oral hygiene.
Plaque’s interaction with food produces an acid that will eat right through your teeth’s enamel. This leads to cavities, which grow larger and more painful over time if not taken care of by your dentist.
Swollen, Bleeding Gums
Your swollen, bleeding gums might be a result of improper brushing. However, it may also be due to gum disease.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums and bones surrounding the teeth. Similar to tooth decay, gum disease is caused by plaque interacting with sugars, creating toxins that irritate your gums.
When you brush your teeth, your gums are easily irritated and may become swollen or bleed. Eventually, the plaque hardens. In turn, this can cause further irritation that will make the gums recede and pull away from your teeth. This can lead to tooth loss when untreated.
There are a variety of mouth sores that you may encounter. Whether it’s a simple cold sore, fever blister, or canker sore, these can all be painful and unsightly.
However, the latter usually resolve on their own in two weeks or less. But more serious conditions like ulcers or oral thrush may take longer and require professional dental treatment. Ulcers and thrush are painful and easily made worse by sharp, spicy, or acidic foods.
Your tooth sensitivity may be a result of tooth erosion. Tooth erosion is generally caused by plaque or bacteria releasing acid which erode the enamel of your teeth. The teeth become weak and sensitive and may even crack.
The best solution for this problem is to see your dentist for a fluoride treatment to strengthen the enamel.
The Solutions to Your Dental Problems
Most of these issues can be avoided or fixed with simple and regular dental care. The basics include brushing at least twice a day and floss regularly. Ideally, if and when you can, it’s best to brush and floss after every meal.
Whitening, tartar control, and baking soda toothpaste can be abrasive and can contain phosphates that make teeth sensitive. Use these sparingly.
Be sure to see your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and regular cleaning. Always call our dental office if you have concerns or questions.