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  • 8 June 2016

  • Aesthetic and functional dentistry

10 oral health problems to watch for

Taking care of your oral health is very important. Here are 10 oral health problems that have the potential to affect your quality of life.

1. Gingivitis

The first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. The first sign of gingivitis is bleeding. Thorough brushing and flossing daily, along with regular dental check‑ups and cleanings, will remove the built-up plaque, eliminating the inflammation that causes the bleeding.

2. Tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is defined as pain of varying intensity (depending on the person) caused by a tooth’s exposed root. You may experience tooth sensitivity primarily when consuming hot or cold food or drink. Tooth sensitivity is a very common problem. It’s not a disease, but rather an issue that develops over time due to a number of factors, such as grinding of the teeth, overly vigorous brushing and gingival recession (receding gums).

To prevent tooth sensitivity, use a soft toothbrush and avoid acidic foods and beverages. You can also use toothpaste for sensitive teeth or ask your dental health professional to apply a desensitizing agent for a more immediate result.

3. Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a condition that affects the supporting structures of the teeth. It is caused by the accumulation of tartar and bacteria in the area between the teeth and gums. Over time, the bacteria release aggressive toxins that cause the gum to detach from the root and lead to bone loss. If periodontal disease is left untreated, it can result in the loss of one or several teeth.

4. Halitosis (bad breath)

Bad breath is due in part to the breakdown of proteins in the digestive system, which are then exhaled through the lungs. Certain foods can have more of an effect on your breath than others.

Poor oral hygiene and oral diseases can also cause bad breath. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene habits and to visit your dentist regularly in order to prevent gum disease, which could affect your breath.

5. Abscess

An abscess is a bacterial infection that can affect the teeth, tissues and gums. The main symptom of an abscess is severe, sharp pain in the infected tooth. An abscess that is left untreated can lead to serious health complications.

6. Ulcer (canker)

An ulcer is a small red sore with a white centre. While an ulcer is often painful and unpleasant, it is not contagious or serious. In general, it will disappear within 7-10 days.

You can speed up the healing process by rinsing with salt water (1 tsp. of salt dissolved in 1 cup of lukewarm water) several times a day.

7. Dental cavity

A dental cavity is a highly aggressive condition that progressively erodes all parts of the tooth. If left untreated, it can have serious health consequences.Diet plays a major role in the formation of cavities; eating too much sugar can promote tooth decay.

Plaque needs to be removed quickly by brushing (ideally after every meal) and flossing (once a day).

8. Dry mouth

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is the result of insufficient saliva. If you constantly, or almost always, have a dry mouth, it can be uncomfortable and can affect the oral cavity.

If the cause of dry mouth cannot be eliminated, or while waiting for it to be eliminated, your dentist can prescribe moistening agents such as a saliva substitute. There are a variety of solutions to relieve dry mouth.

9. Plaque and tartar

Plaque is a deposit that builds up on the teeth, dental appliances and dentures. This deposit is made up of microorganisms, which can cause cavities, gum infections and periodontal disease. If not removed daily, plaque can harden and turn into tartar.

Tartar is a solid deposit that can form on the teeth or under the gums if plaque is left untreated. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing; it can only be eliminated by scaling.

10. Cracking of the jaw

Does your jaw crack or make noise when you open your mouth? You might have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The symptoms of TMJ disorder include pain in the face, jaw and temples, and even migraines. In fact, recurrent headaches and muscle weakness during chewing can be associated with a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders are generally caused by anxiety, tension or stress, which contribute to bad habits such as unconscious clenching or grinding of the teeth.

In all cases, don’t wait until it’s too late; make an appointment today with a dental professional at Lapointe dental centres.

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