Dental problems are more common than you may think. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, nearly one in four Americans have untreated tooth decay. And, if you think dental problems are just for adults, think again. More than one in seven American children aged 2-5 have at least one cavity.
Fortunately, you can prevent dental problems by doing certain things.
Here are the three most common dental problems dentists see and how you can avoid them:
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that occurs by plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque remains on the teeth, it can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
In most cases, gingivitis is painless, but it can lead to more serious problems, such as periodontitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
Cavities are holes in the teeth that develop by tooth decay. Plaque reacts with sugars and starches in the mouth to produce acids that cause tooth decay. The acids eat away at the tooth enamel, causing a hole.
If left untreated, cavities can cause pain, tooth loss, and infection. A cavity can cause toothaches, sensitive teeth, and visible holes in the teeth.
Bad breath, called halitosis, can be embarrassing and make you avoid social situations. It can also signify a more serious problem, such as gum disease.
Many things can cause bad breath, including food, tobacco, and certain medical conditions. Poor oral hygiene, however, contributes to bad breath the most.
What You Can Do to Avoid These Dental Problems
To avoid these problems:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day to brush your teeth.
- Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride.
- Floss daily.
- Limit snacks between meals and eat a balanced diet.
- Use a tongue scraper or tongue brush to remove bacteria and food debris from your tongue.
- Use a mouth rinse that contains fluoride.
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Quit smoking.
- Limit your intake of coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Use dental sealants. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings attached to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars). They help to protect the teeth from cavities.
- Drink water that contains fluoride.
Contact Advanced Orthodontic Care in Denver at 303-331-0222 if you want to keep your smile beautiful this new year and beyond.