Common Oral Health Problems

Common Oral Health Problems

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is preventable. Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices, leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth and eat away at tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.

Sensitive Teeth

Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold foods and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Simply breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage, and common indicators are consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Gums in the early stage of disease, known as gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided through daily brushing and flossing.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the build-up of food particles, plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Food particles left in the mouth deteriorate and cause bad breath. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem.

Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. They have a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents.

Orthodontic Problems

A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types of improper bites may be acquired. Common causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth, misaligned jaws, injuries/trauma or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking.

Brushing & Flossing

Brushing & Flossing

The cornerstone to a good at-home oral hygiene regimen is proper brushing and flossing. Practicing excellent dental hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly dental treatments.

Brushing

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:

 In the morning after breakfast
 After lunch or right after school
 After dinner
 At bedtime

Do not swallow any toothpaste, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one.

flossing-teeth-schaumburg-ILFlossing

For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.

Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.

Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not stop after the first few times flossing, let a staff member know at your next appointment.

Will my child’s teeth straighten out as they grow?

Will my child’s teeth straighten out as they grow?

Most of us don’t want to think about the necessity of braces, but the fact is that most people will require some form of orthodontics at some point in their lives. Teeth move and shift by nature, especially in younger children, and chances are good that some element of the bite would benefit from improvement.

Early Orthodontic Evaluation

Most dentists recommend that children make their first visits as soon as their first teeth appear. Monitoring how the teeth come in and what problems might be on the horizon is an important part of this stage of your child’s life. Regular visits to the dentist to evaluate the position of the baby teeth and the way the permanent teeth are situated in the jawbone can help ensure straight teeth in adulthood.

This might require early intervention to make room for teeth to come in properly. This could include widening the palate or using orthotics to guide the permanent teeth into their proper position. In most cases, if a tooth comes in crooked, it won’t straighten out as time passes, though some teeth might shift into a better position as the jawbone grows larger. If there simply isn’t enough room, though, permanent teeth could become even more out of place as more and more arrive, shifting other teeth to make room. Early evaluation makes this less likely to happen.

Orthodontic Treatment in Adolescence

Most orthodontists recommend waiting until most or all of the permanent teeth have arrived before beginning extensive treatment such as braces. Early intervention, however, helps ensure that braces will be effective, and could even reduce the amount of time braces must be worn. If you and your dentist have kept an eye on how your child’s teeth are emerging, you’ll be prepared for this next step.

If your dentist recommends a consultation with an orthodontist, this will also help you get a better idea of what might need to be done to ensure teeth are properly aligned. A careful balance of “wait and see” and taking necessary proactive measures when necessary will combine to provide the best possible results.

Contact our team today at Serenity Dental to schedule a consultation!