It’s vital to periodically assess yourself for signs and symptoms of oral conditions to maintain a healthy mouth. Here are five of the most common dental issues you should be aware of.
Dental cavities or dental decay occurs when bacteria build up on tooth surfaces and combine with sugars to form acids, which attack the teeth. Cavities affect upwards of 3 billion people and are considered the most common health condition. Dental decay can range from mild with no symptoms, to severe with extreme pain. Signs of cavity formation are:
- Tooth sensitivity (common with cold or sweet foods or biting).
- A brown or white stained spot.
- Tooth chips or breaks.
If cavities are caught and diagnosed early enough, sometimes fluoride can help remineralize the enamel surface. If a larger cavity has gone through the enamel surface, a filling will have to be placed. A large cavity that enters into the root of a tooth may need root canal treatment. To prevent cavities, be sure to brush twice a day, floss daily and use fluoride toothpaste.
Gum disease results from bacteria buildup on the tooth and gum surfaces without being cleaned away adequately. Gum disease is a broad term, which encompasses both infection within the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth, such as the ligament and bone. Gum disease can range from red, swollen, bleeding gums to gum recession, bone loss and loose teeth. To prevent gum disease, be sure to maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home, including cleaning between the teeth.
Trauma to the teeth and mouth can be caused by injury, accidents or violence. It is estimated that 20% of people experience some form of trauma to their teeth in their lifetime. Treatment for dental injuries can be lengthy and costly. The best way to prevent tooth injury is to wear a mouthguard during contact sports.
Cancer of the mouth most commonly affects the tongue, tonsils, gums and throat. Be sure to look for any red or white spots that don’t heal, a mouth or lip sore that won’t heal, a lump or difficult/painful swallowing.
This encompasses any mouth infection caused by bacterial, viral or fungal sources. Common oral infections are herpes simplex 1 (cold sores), which is present in childhood. 50-80% of people have HSV-1! Another common oral infection is thrush, caused by fungus and may be seen in people with autoimmune disorders or people who wear dentures.
By visiting the dentist routinely, signs and symptoms of these five most common oral conditions will be checked and assessed. It is essential to also check for signs and symptoms between dental visits. If you have any questions about the five most common oral conditions, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.