It’s no secret that a lot of people suffer from dental problems. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60% of adults in the United States have had cavities in their adult teeth. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg — other common tooth problems include gum disease, root canals, and even tooth loss.
Most people don’t even know they have these problems until it’s too late. By then, they may have already developed more serious issues which require expensive and time-consuming treatments.
But if you catch these problems early on, they can be easily treated by your dentist. So how do you know if you’re suffering from one of these common tooth problems? Read on to find out.
Common tooth problems include:
Dental cavities, also known as tooth decay, are holes in the teeth caused by acid that dissolves the hard enamel coating.
Bacteria then eat away at any soft spots on the inside of your teeth, like through root canals and fillings creating cavities.
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a bacterial infection that causes gums to become swollen and red and pulls them away from your teeth, making them difficult to eat.
Over time, this can make it easier for food particles to get stuck between your gums and teeth, resulting in more serious dental issues such as tooth loss or even heart disease.
A root canal is when the pulp in your teeth — which contains blood vessels and nerves — gets infected.
To avoid having to remove the entire tooth, your oral surgeon will go into the root canal and clear out all the bacteria before filling it up with medication.
Without this treatment, an abscess may form in your jawbone where pieces of dead infected tissue are trapped in pockets leading to more serious problems.
As you get older, your teeth can become loose or start shifting, resulting in gaps between them, making it impossible to chew certain foods. As time goes on, you may need dental procedures like bridges or dentures to replace missing teeth so that you can eat again normally.
Now that you know the common causes and signs of these oral problems, you should be able to protect your oral health without too much issue.
Tips to Prevent Tooth Problems
Here are some tips to prevent common tooth problems:
- Eat Healthy Foods
When you eat, it’s important to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Sugar can be dissolved into acidic foods that erode tooth enamel resulting in cavities, so focus on eating fruits instead.
- See Your Dentist Regularly
Try to make an appointment with your dentist at least twice a year for dental checkups. Regular dental visits can also help treat cavities, gum disease, and other oral problems early on to avoid developing more serious issues.
- Avoid Acidic Beverages
If you do drink sugary beverages or soda, make sure you drink water afterward to help wash away the acid from your teeth and avoid brushing your teeth right after drinking something acidic.
- Smoke in Moderation
Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause serious dental issues like gum disease and tooth loss. If you’re a smoker, try only to smoke outside or switch to e-cigarettes which have fewer harmful side effects.
- Take a Bite Out of Sugary Snacks
When you do have a craving for something sweet, try eating your favorite candy bar or dessert with a cup of water to wash it down.
This helps reduce the amount of sugar that gets stuck onto the gum line and teeth, as well as limiting how much sugar actually gets into your body.
- Don’t Rush Your Brushing
When you brush, always take your time to focus on each tooth and the gumline. Be sure to brush for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste to help remove plaque and bacteria.
Rushing through brushing your teeth can damage your enamel as well as lead to wayward toothpaste that gets stuck in your gums and between teeth.
- Use a Straw When Drinking from a Bottle
If you do have to drink from a bottle, use a straw so that the liquid doesn’t touch your teeth for too long, which can cause acid erosion of the enamel surface.
These tips can help you prevent oral problems from developing in the first place so that you don’t need expensive treatments. But if you have seen any signs of these issues, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist or primary care physician immediately to catch them before they become more serious problems.