Globally, millions of people of all ages and backgrounds suffer from dental disease. Untreated dental problems can potentially be the reason for many other health problems related to the stomach and blood. The article sheds light on these common dental health problems, their symptoms, and reasons and provides insight into how to address them.
1. Tooth Cavities
Tooth cavities, known as tooth decay or caries, are the most common dental health problem. It affects people of all ages, especially teens and adults. Cavities refer to the permanently damaged areas or holes in your teeth. The common reasons for cavities are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Drinking lots of sugary drinks
- Frequent snacking
- Irregular or inappropriate brushing and flossing
If not treated timely, cavities can affect the deeper layers of teeth and lead to infection, severe toothache, or tooth loss in extreme cases. It’s essential to seek medical advice as soon as you first notice the symptoms of tooth decay. The symptoms may include toothache, tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, visible holes in teeth, pain while eating or drinking, etc.
Treatment of cavities depends upon the extent of damage. Along with visual inspections, dentists use X-rays or dental radiographs to examine the damage caused by cavities. For the early stage of cavities, your dentist may suggest fluoride treatments to restore tooth enamel and reverse the dental cavities. For other cases, treatment options can vary from fillings, crowns, root canals, or tooth extraction, depending on the level of damage.
In most cases, tooth extraction can be avoided if root canal treatment is done timely. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what is a root canal procedure and mistakenly associate it with intense pain, leading to delayed treatment and tooth loss. With advancements in dental knowledge and technology, root canal treatment is as convenient and pain-free as receiving fillings.
2. Gum Disease (periodontal disease)
Gum disease or periodontal is an infection of the tissues responsible for holding the teeth in place. The primary causes of this disease are plaque accumulation and bacteria build-up on the teeth. Some common warning signs of gum disease are:
- Bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Bleeding gums
- Pain while chewing
- Loose teeth
Get an appointment with a periodontist or gum disease specialist if you suffer from these symptoms. The treatment for gum disease includes antibiotic therapy, scaling, and root planning. Your dentist can prescribe oral antibiotics or place tropical antibiotics underneath your gums to treat the infection.
3. Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem in one or more teeth. It is a painful response to certain stimuli and triggers. Some common triggers are:
- Hot and cold temperatures
- Brushing and flossing
- Air exposure
- Sweet and sour foods
- Pressure or touch
The main reasons for tooth sensitivity are tooth decay, gum disease, broken or cracked teeth, and enamel erosion. All of these problems cause the exposure of dentin, which is the inner layer of the enamel that protects the nerves. The exposure of these nerves leads to tooth sensitivity. Treatment to fight tooth sensitivity includes desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride, crown, and dental bonding.
4. Abscessed Tooth
An abscess is when a pus or infection forms at the end of a tooth or in the gums. It looks like a pimple or swollen bump and damages the oral tissue. The infection can spread to the innermost part of the tooth, called pulp, and can affect the nerves and blood vessels. The main reason for this is untreated dental cavities. Other reasons for abscessed teeth are:
- Gum disease
- Broken or cracked teeth
- Dental injury or trauma
A tooth abscess does not heal on its own and can cause severe pain to other body parts. The best treatment for abscessed teeth is the root canal. A root canal treatment helps save your natural tooth by removing the infected or damaged pulp. The root canals and hollow pulp chambers are then cleaned, filled, and sealed with dental fillings by the dentists.
5. Bad Breath (halitosis)
Bad bread or halitosis is a common dental problem caused by Sulphur-producing bacteria in the tongue and throat. Bad breath can caused by the following factors:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dry mouth
- Certain foods, like onion or garlic
- Gum disease
Persistent bad breath can be a warning sign of severe health problems like gum disease, tonsil infection, or sinus problems. Bad breath can be treated by maintaining good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing twice daily, avoiding certain foods, and having regular dental checkups. Staying hydrated also helps treat bad breath as it helps prevent dry mouth.
6. Broken or Cracked Teeth
Broken or cracked can lead to severe pain and discomfort if left untreated. The most common causes of broken teeth are:
- Sports injuries
- Teeth grinding or Bruxism
- Biting hard objects
- Enamel erosion
- Large fillings
Treatment for broken or cracked teeth depends on the damage’s severity and location. Consult a dentist for a checkup and evaluation of the damage. The dentist can recommend dental bonding, crowns, veneers, root canal therapy, night guards, or orthodontic treatments, depending on the cause of the problem.
7. Enamel Erosion
Acid drinks, excessive vomiting, acid reflux, or medicine usually cause enamel erosion. Unlike tooth decay, dental erosion is not caused by bacteria and can be caused by internal or external factors. The external factors include diet, medicine, and exposure to acids present in the environment. Excessive consumption of sugary or acid drinks can lead to enamel erosion. The internal factors result from health conditions like vomiting, gastric reflux, dry mouth, alcoholism, and bulimia. The standard treatments for enamel erosion are veneers, fillings, crowns, and root canals.
8. Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding, commonly known as bruxism, refers to involuntary grinding, clenching, or gnashing of teeth, mostly during sleep. The common causes of bruxism include stress, anxiety, alcohol and caffeine consumption, smoking, and abnormal bite. The treatments for bruxism involve managing discomfort and triggers. It can be done by mouth exercises, wearing mouth guards at night, medication, and stress relieving exercises.
Common dental problems range from minor to severe complications. Regular dental checkups and keeping up good oral hygiene contribute to preventing these problems. Remember, good oral hygiene is directly associated with overall health. So, prioritize your dental health and seek medical advice at the first sign of any dental deformity for accurate diagnosis and prevention of further damage.