Did you know that your oral health correlates with your overall health? The better you take care of your mouth, the healthier you’ll be. Part of having good oral health is knowing if you’re at risk for certain oral health issues. Knowing your risks can help you plan out preventative measures to take.
After all, knowing what to do is half the battle. The next time you have an appointment, you should ask your dentist if you’re at risk for these five oral health issues.
Cavities are a common oral issue people may develop at some point in their lives. It’s so common, in fact, that around 78% of Americans have had at least one cavity by the time they reached 17 years of age. While cavities are common, they are something to ask your dentist about.
Cavities are a form of tooth decay that occurs when bacteria turn into plaque. That plaque eats through your enamel and puts holes in your teeth. Symptoms of cavities include tooth pain, holes in the teeth, and pain when you bite down. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s possible you have a cavity.
If you suspect you have cavities, it’s important to talk to your dentist about it. Untreated cavities can lead to infection and tooth loss, so you should get them treated as quickly as possible. Depending on the severity of your cavity, your dentist may recommend treatments such as fluoride treatments, fillings, or even root canals.
You should talk to your dentist about your cavities before they get worse. Some people think they can brush their cavities away, but that’s simply not the case. Your dentist will tell you what the best course of action is and what you can do to prevent cavities in the future.
If you notice that your gums are bleeding a lot, it may be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria build up and cause your gums to become inflamed and irritated. Some common causes of gum disease include poor oral hygiene, plaque buildup, and nutritional deficiencies.
A mild form of gum disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis causes your gums to become inflamed and swollen, and it also causes your gums to bleed. If you notice your gums bleed when you brush, contact your dentist and ask them what you can do to make it better.
If left untreated, mild gum disease can develop into a more serious gum disease. One of those diseases is periodontitis. Periodontitis is a disease that damages your gums and can destroy the bones that keep your teeth in place. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Symptoms of periodontitis include red, swollen gums and some people may experience loose teeth and bleeding gums.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important you seek dental services right away. A dentist will evaluate your gums and determine what the best treatment is. If you have mild gum disease, it could be remedied with better oral hygiene habits. If you have periodontitis, there isn’t a way to fully reverse it, but there is a way you can manage it. You should consult a dentist to get a proper treatment plan and get the whole picture when it comes to managing gum disease. If you don’t have gum disease, you can talk to them about what you can do to keep it that way.
Another thing to ask your dentist about is whether or not you may have impacted teeth. Impacted teeth are teeth that grow but don’t come out of the gums. You can have impacted teeth if your mouth is too crowded or if the teeth are growing in the wrong position or growing at an odd angle. The teeth that tend to be the most commonly impacted for teens and adults are the wisdom teeth.
If your mouth is crowded, talk to a dental specialist about what that means for your teeth. If you have impacted teeth, your treatment options depend on the impact the teeth are having on your oral health and comfort. If there’s room in your mouth for them and they’re not causing any oral issues, your dentist may say you can leave them in. However, if they’re causing your mouth to be more crowded or are causing your teeth to become crowded, your dentist may recommend getting them out. Usually, this requires surgery.
If you have concerns over oral surgery, talk to your dentist. Oral surgery is a common procedure, especially for people who have impacted teeth. If you’re feeling nervous about the procedure, you can talk to your dentist about what to expect and how to prepare. Knowing more about the procedure may help ease your worries about the process.
Have you ever bit into something cold or sipped something too hot and suddenly have sharp pain in your teeth? If so, you may have sensitive teeth. Having sensitive teeth is a common dental issue for adults. It happens when the enamel breaks down and the inner layer of the tooth is exposed. This inner layer is sensitive and if it’s exposed to pressure or temperatures that are too hot and or too cold, you can feel pain.
The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is worn enamel. Over time, bacteria can break down the enamel and expose this sensitive part of the tooth. Your dentist will be able to tell you what exactly could be causing your teeth sensitivity and what can be done about it. If it’s not causing too much discomfort for you, keeping an eye on the hot and cold products you consume could help you reduce discomfort along with brushing with desensitizing toothpaste.
In more serious cases, you may need extra dentistry to help curb your sensitive teeth, but that’s up to your dentist to decide. While sensitive teeth may be uncomfortable, it’s a manageable condition that your dentist can help you treat.
Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is one of the most serious oral conditions people can develop. Mouth cancer is caused by a number of factors, including frequent tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, and HPV infection. Symptoms of oral cancer include lumps inside your mouth, a consistent sore throat, and white or red patches inside your mouth. These factors, combined with poor oral health, can increase your chances of developing oral cancer. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, talk to your dentist about your concerns.
There are a couple of treatment options for oral cancer, but it depends on the severity of your cancer. If you’re in the early stages, dentists may recommend chemotherapy or radiation. If it’s in the advanced stages, you may need surgery. Your dentist will tell you what the best treatment is for your case.
Maintaining your oral health is essential if you want to be healthy overall. Part of maintaining your oral health is talking to your dentist about oral health issues that could come up. Ask them what you can do to prevent these issues from coming up and how to keep your mouth healthy. If you’re smart about your oral health, you’ll keep yourself healthy for the foreseeable future.