Millions of Americans visit the dentist each year for a variety of reasons. Many visit the dentist for one or more of the most common tooth ailments such as cavities, bad breath, sensitive teeth, mouth sores, and more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to forty percent of adults felt some sort of oral pain in the last year, and that a stunning eighty percent of people will experience a cavity by their mid-thirties. With statistics like these, it shows the importance of routine dental visits.
If you are experiencing discomfort, pain, or another side effect you believe to be related to your oral health, it is important to have it checked out by a licensed Houston dentist as soon as possible. Whether the solution is an easy one or requires a procedure, having the issue addressed in a timely manner can keep it from potentially becoming an even bigger issue.
The 9 Most Common Tooth Ailments
The 9 most common tooth ailments experienced by people usually includes:
- Bad Breath –It is possible to have bad breath from garlic bread or other fragrant foods that seem to permeate the breath long after they have been eaten. But for some people, the sudden development of bad breath that cannot be tied to a specific food can mean there is a bigger problem at hand. Sometimes called halitosis, having bad breath can indicate poor dental hygiene, an unusually dry mouth, an infection, or acid reflux. Certain medications may even cause of bad breath, but the condition can also be a symptom of other dental issues as well, so it’s best to be evaluated by a reputable dentist.
- Tooth Sensitivity – As far as the most common tooth ailments go, tooth sensitivity can be one of the most obvious. If a person drinks or eats something hot or cold, it may cause discomfort or pain in a sensitive tooth. The reason it is important to have sensitive teeth evaluated by a dentist is that it could be caused by conditions such as a root infection, broken or cracked tooth, or gum disease, all of which should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible to prevent the development of a more complicated problem.
- Mouth Sores – If you have ever had a sore in the mouth that made eating and speaking uncomfortable, you may have had a common canker sore. These sores develop due to injury, stress, braces, or even vitamin deficiencies. Canker sores are normally located inside the mouth. Cold sores, on the other hand, usually appear on the outer edge of the lips and are usually contagious. People with diabetes, cancer, or those that wear dentures may be susceptible to yeast infection sores called thrush. Should you experience a mouth sore that does not go away soon, make arrangements to see a dentist.
- Cavities – When the enamel of a tooth is eroded away by bacteria and acid, it can give way to a cavity. This is a fairly common tooth ailment primarily because it can come from food and bacteria that collect on the teeth and gums. Cavities can also happen in individuals that consume foods and drinks that are high in sugar and acids that wear away tooth enamel. Many people suspect they may have a cavity if a tooth has suddenly become overly sensitive to hot and/or cold substances or it causes pain. Since both of these symptoms can be signs of other common tooth ailments, it is essential that a licensed dentist take a look and provide a professional diagnosis.
- Teeth Grinding – Have you ever been told that you grind your teeth when you sleep? While it happens more often when people are sleeping, it can also occur when awake if a person is stressed or tense, for example. Intense teeth grinding that happens on an ongoing basis can lead a person to develop headaches, earaches, and even jaw pain. The good news is that by seeing a dentist about the problem early on, they may be able to provide the patient with a customized mouthguard to help protect the teeth against damage incurred from grinding.
- Broken or Cracked Teeth – It is possible for a tooth to become cracked or broken from eating ice, hard candy, or other hard foods, but cracks can also be caused by certain injuries or even intense grinding of the teeth. Usually, a broken or cracked tooth will cause enough pain that it will become noticeable to the person. While a tooth that is damaged in this way is often painful, it can also be a cosmetic issue. While a dentist cannot put the tooth back together again, they can often make the affected tooth appear natural again via the use of a natural-colored cavity filling, a crown, or a veneer. In some cases, the tooth might need a root canal treatment or may need to be pulled.
- Root Cavities – One of the more painful examples of the most common tooth ailments is an infection of the root. If a tooth’s root becomes decayed, it can be quite painful. It is not a good idea to power through the pain as if it is left untreated it could damage the tooth’s nerve and lead to the development of an abscess. A toothache that does not relent over a day or two can indicate a tooth infection so intense that it may keep the person from being able to eat comfortably. An infection extending to the nerve of the tooth or the bone surrounding the tooth may require a root canal for proper treatment.
- Receding Gums – A person who experiences receding gums may notice that when they smile, their teeth suddenly appear longer and give them a toothier grin. There could be more than just a change in the appearance of a person’s smile at stake. In some cases, receding gums may also lead to tooth root damage or tooth loss. Sometimes receding gums can be a byproduct of ineffective brushing, smoking, or certain health conditions, but it may also be due to genetics, leading to periodontal disease. If you notice a change in the length of your permanent teeth that may be due to receding gums, have your oral health thoroughly evaluated by a dentist.
- Gum Disease – Also called periodontal disease, gum disease is something to take seriously. People who have bad breath, pain, tooth loss, receding gums, or gums that are swollen, red, tender, or bleeding could have gum disease. Those with a weakened immune system, diabetes, poor oral hygiene, or certain genetics may be at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. In its earliest stages, the condition is referred to as gingivitis and is usually treated by regular dental visits and good oral hygiene. If gum disease goes unaddressed and progresses, it can turn into periodontitis which is essentially an infection of the gums with bone loss. Periodontitis can lead to bad breath, receding gums, and the loss of teeth, and may even be responsible for causing an inflammatory response in the body. Fortunately, dentists can treat infections with antibiotics and follow up with any necessary oral healthcare.
Prevention For Common Tooth Ailments
Fortunately, for the top 9 most common tooth ailments listed above, there is hope when patients visit their dentist regularly and practice key prevention techniques.
First and foremost, it is critical to brush teeth twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. Regular flossing is recommended as well. Taking care of your oral health can go a long way toward protecting you against oral problems.
Visiting a licensed dentist every six months is vital to the early detection of oral health issues not noticed by the patient. X-rays and examinations can help the dental professional identify any noteworthy changes rather than waiting for a patient to develop pain or another troublesome symptom. However, should a person experience pain in between visits, they should make an appointment as soon as possible to have the problem properly checked out.
Now that you know the 9 most common tooth ailments and the symptoms that often accompany them, dedicate yourself to practicing effective prevention techniques. Should you experience one of the above ailments, do not wait to make an appointment with your Houston dentist. Advocating for your oral health is an important part of self-care.