Everyone knows that brushing, flossing and maintaining a healthy diet are the cornerstones of good oral health. But knowledge of common oral health problems can also help you know when brushing and flossing may not be enough. If you are experiencing any of the following common oral health problems, it’s important you see your dentist right away.
Cavities, or “caries,” occur when tooth enamel, which is the hard, outer layer of your teeth, start to deteriorate. This happens when bacteria feed off the sugars left in your mouth from lack of or poor brushing, resulting in the acids that can damage teeth. Tooth sensitivity – especially while eating something hot or cold – is a telltale first sign that a cavity is forming.
Gum disease can result from failure to floss or brush properly, and is often caused by an infection in the gums or bones that surround the teeth. People with chronic conditions such as diabetes are susceptible to periodontal or gum disease. Cavities that are untreated can lead to gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Most seriously, compromised gums can increase your risk of developing heart disease, as the gums provide a rapid conduit to the bloodstream.
Saliva not only serves as a natural mouthwash, but it also helps us digest food and prevents infection by managing levels of bacteria. Dry mouth – when your mouth fails to produce enough saliva to perform basic functions – can be the result of disease-treatment such as chemotherapy, as well as certain types of prescription medication. Autoimmune diseases can also cause dry mouth. Without a healthy circulation of saliva that washes away bacteria, you are at a greater risk of cavities, as well as tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.
Wisdom teeth are a set of molars located in the rear of the jaw that serve no real purpose, but should they erupt, they can potentially cause damage as well as a ripple effect of displacement. Due to their location, wisdom teeth can be extremely difficult to keep clean and can cause decay of not only the wisdom tooth but neighboring teeth as well. If they become impacted or start to break through the gum, they can cause swollen gums, tenderness, abscesses, infections, and gum disease. Often, cysts can form that can damage other teeth, nerves and the jawbone. The best treatment for wisdom tooth pain is extraction before other complications result.
When caught early, oral cancer is more easily treated. However, it can be fatal if caught too late or left untreated. Some habits that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer are smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and excessive alcohol consumption. Wearing poorly fitted dentures can cause lesions that can become cancerous, too.
The foundation of good oral health is having regular dental check-ups. For nearly 30 years, Dr. Ernie Soto has provided his patients in South Florida with the dental services they need in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Our goal is to provide you and your family the highest quality oral care available. If you have any questions about our comprehensive dental services, call Dr. Ernie Soto at (954) 368-6264 or request an appointment now. Be sure to ask about our sedation dentistry for those who have anxiety of sitting in a dentist’s chair.