Misaligned bites, broken teeth, and mouth ulcers are just a few of the oral health problems people face. However, some oral health problems are more common than others. In fact, you’ve likely experienced at least one of these oral health problems at some point.
In this article, we delve into some of the most common oral health problems and the best ways to prevent them from occurring.
Common oral health problems
Some of the most common oral health problems people experience are:
Tooth decay, commonly called cavities, is one of the most prevalent dental health problems in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that almost 90% of adults aged 20 and older have had at least one cavity in their lifetime.
Cavities occur when hard areas of the teeth develop tiny holes. They can happen from poor oral health care at home, such as not brushing or flossing, consuming sugary treats, too much snacking throughout the day, not using toothpaste with fluoride, and neglecting dentist appointments. When left untreated, cavities can cause infections, tooth pain, and even tooth loss over time.
The good news is that cavities are preventable! The best protection against this common dental problem is making small lifestyle changes, such as choosing toothpaste with fluoride, picking healthier snacking options, and regularly seeing a dentist twice a year.
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is an infection of the soft tissues (gums) that hold your teeth in place. This can lead to red, swollen, and bleeding gums in the beginning. Over time, teeth may become loose and need to be removed if the infection is not treated.
In the United States, nearly half of the adult population aged 30 and older show the beginning signs of gum disease. The good news is that gum disease can be treated in its early stages with a good oral hygiene routine at home and regular visits to the dentist. If not treated early, more invasive procedures to clear the infection may be needed.
For more information about gum disease, check out this blog.
You may have tooth sensitivity if you have pain when you eat something hot, cold, sweet, or sour. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that 40 million people living in the United States have had some degree of tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity is usually caused when the hard enamel on the outside of a tooth is worn down. As the enamel thins, small tubes in the teeth can become exposed, which causes the pain felt when eating or drinking certain foods and beverages. In severe cases, the sensitivity can become so painful that it affects how people eat and drink.
There are ways to treat sensitive teeth at home. The most common treatment is using desensitizing toothpaste and toothbrushes with medium or soft bristles. At the dentist’s office, your oral health care team can apply desensitizing treatments such as sealants or stannous fluoride. If you experience any new or worsening tooth sensitivity or pain, it’s essential to see your dentist to make sure there are no other issues that could be causing the discomfort.
Tooth pain (usually referred to as toothache) is another common dental problem 40% of Americans experience each year. Toothaches can cause mild to severe discomfort, depending on the cause. For example, a piece of food lodged between teeth can cause slight discomfort, while an infection in the tooth can be excruciating.
Most of the time, toothaches resolve on their own and can be treated at home by remedies like saltwater rinses, cold compresses, and pain-relief medication. However, if something serious is causing the toothache, such as an infection, cavity, or tooth abscess, immediate treatment from a dentist is needed.
If you have recurring toothaches, be sure to let your dental team know. Although toothaches are common, it’s important to make sure there are no underlying reasons for them.
Bad breath is normal after a meal with garlic, onions, or other strong-smelling foods. However, chronic bad breath could signal a more serious oral health problem. One in four people have bad breath that doesn’t go away with common remedies.
In most cases, chronic bad breath is caused by neglecting a good oral hygiene routine and not seeing the dentist for cleanings. If you have a good oral health care routine and a healthy mouth, bad breath may be linked to a different area in the body. Dry mouth, specific head and neck cancers, digestive disorders, gum disease, diabetes, and tonsil stones are other causes.
Bad breath is generally treated at home by improving dental hygiene routines and seeing the dentist twice a year. In some cases, a special mouth rinse kill bacteria in your mouth. If your bad breath doesn’t go away after these measures, your dentist may recommend a visit to your general care physician to check for other problems in the body that may be the cause.
Most common oral health problems are preventable
The good news about most common oral health problems is that they’re preventable. A good oral health care routine, regularly seeing a dentist, and making healthy choices for your mouth and body can reduce the risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and other conditions.
If preventive measures aren’t enough, it’s crucial to have an oral health care team to turn to. Learn more about Delta Dental’s affordable and customizable dental plans to keep your teeth and mouth healthy now and in the future.