Know how to prevent tooth problems, the causes and prevention of tooth decay.
Healthy teeth and gums make it easy for you to eat well and enjoy good food. But keeping your mouth in good health takes as much effort as it does to keep the rest of your body healthy. The problems bad dental hygiene can lead to go beyond just bad breath. But good dental care should keep your teeth and gums strong, and your mouth disease free. Read on to know more about the common tooth problems from cavities, gum diseases, dry mouth and mouth cancer.
Causes & Prevention of Tooth Decay (Cavities)
Teeth are covered in a hard, outer coating called enamel. Every day, a thin film of bacteria called dental plaque builds up on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can harm enamel, and, over time, lead to holes called cavities. Brushing and flossing your teeth can protect you from decay, but once a cavity happens, a dentist has to fix it.
You can protect your teeth from decay by using fluoride toothpaste. If you are at a higher risk for tooth decay (for example, if you have a dry mouth), you might need more fluoride. Your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit. Or, the dentist may tell you to use a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at home.
Gum Diseases (Periodontitis or Gum Inflammation)
Gum disease happens when plaque builds up along and under the gum line. This plaque causes infections that hurt the gum and bone that hold teeth in place. Sometimes, gum disease makes your gums tender and more likely to bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can often be fixed by daily brushing and flossing.A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis or gum inflammation, needs to be treated by a dentist. If not treated, this infection can ruin the bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. Over time, your teeth may have to be removed.
To prevent gum disease, brush twice a day, floss once a day eat a well-balanced diet, and visit your dentist regularly.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
You experience dry mouth when there isn’t enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet. Dry mouth can be caused by many common medicines, and you may find it hard to eat, swallow, taste, and even speak. Dry mouth can even cause tooth decay and other infections of the mouth.
Try sipping water or sugarless drinks to combat the problem. Don’t smoke, and avoid caffeine. Sugarless hard candy or sugarless gum may help. Your dentist or doctor might suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet. Or they may have other ideas on how to cope with dry mouth.
Oral or Mouth Cancer
Cancer of the mouth can grow in any part of the mouth or throat. A dental check-up is a good time for your dentist to look for signs of oral cancer. Pain is not usually an early symptom of the disease, and treatment works best before the disease spreads. Keeping away from tobacco products — cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, or cigars – and using lip balm with sunscreen can help avoid contracting the illness.