Some of us are guilty of taking our oral health for granted, and we often only give importance to it when a problem occurs. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly are necessary in order to steer clear from oral problems.
Did you know that when you don’t pay attention to your oral health, it could lead to more serious health problems, which could leave you in terrible pain, both physically and financially?
It is of the utmost importance that we educate ourselves on the different oral health problems so we know how to address them should they occur. Doing so will get you back on the right track and improve your overall oral well-being.
Problem 1: Bad breath
Halitosis or chronic bad breath could be an effect of a health problem or it could be because of poor dental health habits. When you fail to brush your teeth, clean your tongue and floss regularly, food particles pile in between your teeth, which causes the occurrence of odour-causing bacteria.
The food you eat could also be blamed for this problem, as it is absorbed into your bloodstream. When you take in those that have strong flavours such as spices, your mouth manifests the odour.
Our vices also contribute to this socially-crippling health problem. A good example is smoking, which doesn’t only drastically change the appearance of your teeth, it also causes halitosis.
Pay your dentist a visit. He’ll give your mouth its much-deserved TLC by getting it thoroughly cleaned. After that, the ball is in our hands. You have to brush your teeth, clean your tongue, floss regularly, use a mouthwash, quit smoking, drink at least eight glasses of water daily and be mindful of the food you eat.
It may sound easy but doing so regularly is where the challenge is.
Problem 2: Mouth sores
We all know they are painful. Generally, mouth sores heal on their own in approximately two weeks. They can grow on your lips, tongue, gums, the back of your cheeks, and on the soft tissues of your mouth.
You develop sores when your mouth gets irritated by braces or dentures, when you acquire an injury because of brushing your teeth too hard or it could be because you have the herpes simplex virus.
There are over-the-counter topical solutions available in your local drugstore; you can consult with your dentist as to which one is the most effective. Avoid salty, spicy and sour foods because they could aggravate the pain you’re experiencing. If your braces or dentures are the reason, it is best to have them checked by your dentist so the necessary adjustments can be made. Also, purchase a toothbrush with soft bristles and learn how to properly brush your teeth.
Problem 3: Gum Disease
When you don’t observe proper oral hygiene or if you’re a smoker, there’s a greater risk of gum disease. There are two types of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis can be characterised by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. This is often a result of not taking proper oral hygiene seriously. Other causes of gingivitis are smoking, certain illnesses such as diabetes, poor overall health and hormonal changes among others.
Periodontitis, on the other hand, is the result of untreated gingivitis. In this case, your teeth will start to separate from your gums and form pockets. If not given the immediate attention, more gum tissues and bones will be destroyed. What’s worse is that periodontitis could lead to a heart attack or stroke. When the bacteria enters your bloodstream, they affect your heart and lungs, and that puts you in great danger.
Have your teeth and gums deeply cleaned regularly. Your dentist will advise you as to how often you should have your oral health checked. If you have already developed periodontitis, you will be given antibiotics aside from the directive to observe proper oral hygiene. Different treatments are available depending on how serious the problem is, but if there is a need to repair the tissue, you might have to undergo surgery.
Problem 4: Tooth decay and cavities
When you don’t thoroughly clean your teeth, bacteria develops; this bacteria produces acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth. That’s tooth decay. When the condition worsens and creates a hole in your tooth, then we’re looking at a cavity. These holes could cause toothache, not to mention tooth loss.
It’s never too late to start good oral hygiene habits that includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. You may also avoid foods that are sugar-loaded or acidic in nature, as these could work against the enamel of your teeth.
If your teeth have already developed cavities, it is best to have them checked so your dentist could assess if any of them could still be salvaged through dental fillings or a root canal. If the tooth is severely damaged, then an extraction may be the only option for you.
Problem 5: Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD)
This is a problem that occurs in your jaws and the muscles of your face. When you find it difficult to move your jaw, and already it’s causing you discomfort whenever you eat, talk or open your mouth a little wider, then it could be TMD.
Having TMD could lead to other oral problems like gum disease and tooth erosion, so it is best to know the different causes of TMD. The most common reason is an accident, which could directly affect your jaw and the muscles connected to it. If you grind or clench your teeth, this could also lead to TMD. Arthritis and stress could also tighten your jaw muscles.
The first thing you can do is to apply a warm compress on the affected area to relax the muscles. If this doesn’t work, go ahead and pay your dentist a visit. He may prescribe over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to control the pain and swelling or a mouthpiece to correct your bite. He may also ask you to exercise and massage your jaw regularly to relax the joints and the muscles as well. Eating soft foods and avoiding stress will surely help you recover quickly.
If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned dental problems, then you should never take it for granted; doing so will just make matters worse. If left untreated, you will experience terrible pain and an operation may have to be carried out. A dentist can only do so much, because the fact still remains that you hold the bigger share of responsibility in looking after your oral health.