Are you concerned about the health of your mouth? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have at least one issue in their mouth that is a cause for concern. The issue can be a cosmetic concern, such as the color of your teeth, or it can be a problem that has a direct effect on the overall health of your teeth and gums.
What are the most common mouth problems people see their dentist about? We’ve put together a list to help you see what problems are the most common and to help you see what you can do if one of these issues affects you.
1. Cavities/Tooth Decay
It’s pretty difficult to go through life without getting a single cavity. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have a cavity in their permanent teeth. The US National Library of Medicine points out that dental cavities are the second most common medical ailment, behind the common cold.
Cavities can affect anyone, from children through older adults. They form as a result of the acids released by plaque, a sticky film that coats the teeth. The acids dissolve the enamel, creating a hole in the tooth.
Brushing your teeth after meals can help to reduce your risk of developing cavities. A dental professional can help to treat cavities that have severely damaged teeth using a tooth filling material St. Petersburg FL, which matches the color of your teeth.
2. Bad Breath
Bad breath is another common mouth problem. It can develop for multiple reasons. A particularly pungent dish of a pasta changes the scent of your breath, at least temporarily. Bad breath can also develop when there’s a buildup of bacteria in the mouth or as a result of an underlying medical condition.
If you’re worried about your breath, your dentist can help you figure out what’s going on and recommend the most appropriate treatment for you. Changing your diet, using an alcohol-free mouthwash or having your teeth and gums professionally cleaned at least twice per year might help.
3. Bleeding Gums
When people see a bit of blood when they brush or floss, their first thought might be that they have gingivitis or another form of gum and bone disease. While bleeding gums can be a sign of gum and bone disease, there are other things that can make the gums bleed.
For example, hormonal changes that occur when a woman’s pregnant or on birth control can make the gums more likely to bleed, as the US National Library of Medicine points out. Brushing the teeth very vigorously or using a brush with medium (not soft) bristles can also cause bleeding gums.
If you’re worried about a bit of blood when you brush or floss, your dental professional can help you figure out what’s going on and how to treat it.
4. Sensitive Teeth
Some people have sensitive teeth, which can make it challenging to eat hot or cold foods. Sometimes, the teeth are so sensitive that it’s uncomfortable to take in a deep breath when the air is cold. About half of the population is thought to have sensitive teeth, according to Colgate Professional.
Cavities, enamel erosion and receding gums are all things that can cause sensitive teeth or make sensitivity worse. Treatments often depend on the cause, which is why it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist or hygienist if you think your teeth are sensitive.
5. Stained Teeth
It can sometimes seem as if everyone wants a brighter, whiter smile. But stains on the teeth or discoloration of the teeth are fairly common.
Depending on the type of stain, teeth whitening might be able to change the color of the teeth. Usually, extrinsic discoloration, which occurs only on the enamel, responds to whitening treatments, including at-home or in-office procedures. Extrinsic discoloration includes stains that form as a result of eating and drinking certain things, like coffee and chocolate as well as stains created by tobacco and smoking. Intrinsic stains are more resistant to whitening procedures and may require cosmetic restorative procedures like veneers or crowns.
6. Dry Mouth
From time to time, everyone has a dry mouth. But when the mouth is persistently dry, it can lead to other issues, such as bad breath, tooth decay, and mouth sores. Dry mouth can occur as a result of certain medications, medical conditions, or damage to the nerves of the salivary glands, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
If you notice that your mouth feels dry often, talk to your dentist about possible causes and treatment options. Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, treating an underlying condition or trying a different medication might help solve the problem. There are some over the counter (OTC) mouth rinses that may alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
7. Injury to the Mouth
Although the enamel of your teeth is one of the hardest substances in the body, it can be cracked or damaged as a result of an injury. Injuries to the mouth can occur during sports, if you trip and fall, or after a car accident.
While you can’t always prevent injuries, you can take steps to protect against them. If you or your children play any type of contact sport, wearing a mouthguard during practice and games can help reduce the risk of injury.
8. Mouth Sores
Mouth sores go by a lot of different names, such as cold sores and canker sores. They can be caused by a variety of different things, from a virus to a fungus and from an oral appliance that doesn’t fit quite right to accidentally biting down on your inner cheek or lip.
If you have a sore in the mouth that doesn’t seem to heal after about a week, the American Dental Association recommends making an appointment with your dentist.
9. Gum and Bone Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum and bone disease. In the earliest phase, known as gingivitis, symptoms of gum and bone disease often include redness in the gums, as well as some swelling and bleeding. Some people don’t have any symptoms in the earliest stages of the disease.
If the condition advances, it can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth as well as damage to the underlying bone, causing the teeth to become loose.
Seeing a dental professional for regular exams and cleanings can help you detect and treat gum and bone disease before it has a chance to advance. In the earliest stages, the condition is reversible. In later stages, it is treatable, but treatments are usually more involved and extensive.
How’s your mouth doing? If you have any concerns about the health of your mouth, contact Klement Family Dental in St. Petersburg, Florida
While you can usually clear away plaque at home with regular brushing and flossing, tartar is more difficult to remove. If plaque turns into tartar, it often builds up below the gumline, irritating the gums and leading to the inflammation that’s a sign of gingivitis. Using special tools, a hygienist or dentist will scrape the plaque and tartar from the teeth and below the gumline. Depending on the stage of the gum and bone disease, a deeper cleaning might be needed.
Although the American Dental Association typically recommends twice a year cleanings to help prevent gum and bone disease and to reverse it in the earliest stages, people who are at a higher risk for the disease might need to see their hygienist for more frequent cleanings.
A dentist might decide that treatment with an antibiotic rinse or irrigation, along with cleaning the teeth and gums, will help clear up the infection that can be contributing to a person’s gum and bone disease. Antibiotic medications are available in prescription mouth rinses. In some cases, a dentist might apply the antibiotic into the periodontal pockets (like Arestin), the spaces that form between the teeth and gums when an infection is present.
No matter what type of antibiotic your dentist prescribes, it’s important to keep taking it for as long as prescribed to allow the infection to completely clear up.
Reducing Risk Factors for Gum and Bone Disease
Although not a treatment for gum and bone disease itself, reducing the risk factors that could contribute to the development or progression of the disease can help to keep it at bay. Risk factors for gum and bone disease include:
- Tobacco use. Smokers have twice the risk of gum disease as non-smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you’re interested in quitting smoking, your dentist can provide resources and support.
- Diabetes. Gum and bone disease are more likely to occur in people with diabetes, perhaps due to the higher levels of sugar in the blood. Gum and bone disease can also make it more challenging for people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar under control. To reduce your risk for diabetes complications and gum disease, you can work with your dentist and family doctor.
- Pregnancy. Changes in your hormonal levels during pregnancy can raise your risk for gingivitis. If you’re pregnant, it’s important to check in with your dentist and hygienist for regular cleanings and check-ups.
- High stress levels. If you feel stressed a lot, that can make it more difficult for your body to fight off infection, raising your risk of gum and bone disease. Learning deep breathing and relaxation techniques can help you battle stress and lower your gum and bone disease risk.
An Ounce of Prevention
Along with identifying and reducing any risk factors for gum and bone disease, getting into the habit of or maintaining a good oral care routine at home will help to keep both your teeth and gums healthy. Remember to brush twice a day and floss as well. Using an alcohol-free mouthwash might also help to reduce your risk of infection in the mouth.
Your dentist and hygienists are here for you to answer any questions you have about gum and bone disease and to help you set up a routine that protects your mouth. If it’s been a while since your last cleaning, get in touch with Klement Family Dental in St. Petersburg, Florida today. We’re open six days a week and offer convenient morning and evening appointment times to fit your busy schedule.