Most people are confronted with a dental issue at some point in their lives. While unpleasant, most dental issues are not serious and do not pose a serious threat to the health of an individual, as long as you catch them in the early stages.
Keep reading to learn about 3 common dental issues and you can do to prevent them.
Common issue: bad breath
Bad breath is perhaps the most common dental issue, but one that is met with most disdain and embarrassment. Bad breath, scientifically known as halitosis, can affect personal relationships and career progression because it can hinder a person’s self-confidence.
Bad breath doesn’t always indicate bad breath – usually, it’s just the result of poor dental hygiene – but in some cases, it can be caused by tooth decay.
There are two degrees of bad breath – morning breath, which is harmless and completely natural, and persistent bad breath, which could indicate something more sinister.
Morning breath, though unpleasant, is totally natural. It occurs because when we sleep our mouths become dry and there is less saliva to wash away bad odour or food debris.
Persistent bad breath is when your mouth emits a foul-smelling odour constantly. Symptoms include a constant dry mouth, a white coating on the tongue, a buildup of plaque, a bitter taste in the mouth and thick saliva. It could be a sign of bad dental hygiene, or that you’re eating a lot of potent foods like garlic, onion and tuna. Or, it may be a sign that you have gum disease or tooth decay, in which you should seek professional advice.
To avoid bad breath it is essential that you maintain excellent dental hygiene. This means thoroughly brushing your teeth morning and night for two minutes at a time, flossing regularly and visiting the dentist for regular checkups and professional cleans. You may also use mints and mouth wash to keep your mouth as fresh and as clean as possible, especially if you’re concerned about morning breath and want to lessen its intensity.
Common issue: gum disease
Another common dental problem experienced by many is gum disease, scientifically known as periodontal. It is when the gums become infected and the bones begin to break down, and it is one of the main causes of tooth loss.
It occurs when gingivitis isn’t treated. Gingivitis is when a buildup of plaque on the gums causing them to swell and become inflamed and bleed when brushed. Gingivitis isn’t severe and can be easily treated with over-the-counter medicine, but if it is left untreated it can cause the gum to become seriously infected and the bones to deteriorate – a condition which is irreversible.
Practising great dental hygiene is the best way to prevent gingivitis and gum disease, as brushing and flossing properly will reduce the buildup of plaque. Smoking can also be a key contributor. You should also seek medical advice as soon as you spot any bleeding from your gums.
Common issue: tooth decay
Tooth decay is another common dental issue where the buildup of plaque from sugars in foods causes the enamel of the tooth to break down and become infected. A sign of tooth decay (aka cavities) is if the tooth has blackened or become discoloured. Other signs include tooth sensitivity and pain, which could eventually lead to infection.
For many suffering with tooth decay, the only option is to get a root canal treatment. This procedure involves the removal of the infected “pulp” area at the centre of the tooth, which is made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues). Removing the infected mass (known as pulpectomy) will relieve the sufferer from all pain and discomfort.
Once the infected tooth has been cleaned out, the gap must be filled with a cement-like material called gutta-percha, which will help to prevent the tooth from becoming infected in the future. The procedure is not as painful as the pain from the infection itself and requires just a local anaesthetic from start to finish.
Again, prevention is key when it comes to this common dental issue. Tooth decay can be very painful and a root canal procedure is not pleasant, but with a good dental routine, it can be avoided.
Not all dental complications are unavoidable (e.g. injury), but most are preventable when you have excellent dental hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing, visiting your dental professional for regular checkups, and seeing professional assistance when you spot any of the symptoms listed above.