Cavities/Tooth Decay

Cavities are permanently damaged areas in or around the surface of your tooth that results to tiny holes. This one of the most common dental problems and can happen even to infants.

They are caused by plaque from food high in sugar or starch content settling on the surface of the teeth. Bacteria inside your mouth feeds on sugar and starch thus leading to the protective coat of your teeth (enamel) to slowly deteriorate. This then leads to tooth decay which will most likely need fillings.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 60-90% of kids worldwide have cavities. You might think that’s normal because they’re kids and they’re crazy for cavity-causing candies. Based on World Health Organization’s statistics, almost 100% of adults worldwide have dental cavities.

Cavities or tooth decay are caused by what you consume. Though they might also be caused by bacteria living in your mouth, consumption of sugary drinks such as sodas, frequent snacking and smoking are main causes of cavities among adults. For children, they get cavities because of the sugar they consume and also because they do not have the proper discipline to follow proper oral hygiene.

But, how do you know if you have cavities? There are some symptoms that should urge you to pay your dentist a visit.

  • Tooth ache
  • Sensitivity
  • Sudden pain when eating or drinking something cold or sweet
  • Visible holes on the surface of your teeth
  • Tooth stains
  • Pain when biting

Once you get these symptoms, set an appointment to see your dentist. Actually, for sure once you get the constant toothache or the sudden piercing pain when you eat, you’d visit your dentist without being told to.

How do you prevent cavities?

  • Avoid food with high sugar or starch content – food and drinks like soda, ice cream, cakes, candy cookies, etc. are very high in both starch and sugar. 
  • Make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly – if you do consume these foods, brush your teeth after eating to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Rinse your mouth – if you can’t brush right then and there, rinse your mouth with clean water.
  • Drink more water – if you can stay away from other beverages that isn’t water, do so. Manufactured drinks have chemicals and loads of sugar that causes plaque.
  • Visit your dentist regularly – ask for tooth sealant options or fluoride gels

Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the most common dental diseases adults get. It has three developing stages starting from gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease that is reversible but, if not treated accordingly, may lead to a more serious problem call periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease must be treated as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will lead to stage three of gum disease also known as advanced periodontal disease which causes teeth to fall loose.

Some would think gum disease isn’t serious. But, the numbers don’t lie. World Help Organization (WHO) said 15-25% of adults from around the world aged 35-44 years old have severe periodontal disease. This means they would lose majority of their teeth by the time they reach 50.

What are the symptoms of gum disease? Sometimes we grow accustomed to the condition of our oral health that we don’t realize we’re already showing signs of gum disease. For instance, there would come a time that we’re used to the smell of our own breath that we don’t know we’ve had bad breath for quite a while already.

That’s already a sign of gingivitis. Here are the other symptoms of gum disease:

  • Bleeding gums – do your gums bleed when you floss or brush? That’s not supposed to always happen. This is an early sign of your gums weakening.
  • Bad breath – if you notice the bad breath despite maintaining a rigorous oral hygiene routine, consider gingivitis.
  • Swollen, red or tender gums – healthy gums are supposed to possess a pink color and tight around the base of your teeth. If you see swelling, redness or tenderness around the base where your teeth meets your gums, see a dentist right away.
  • Loose Teeth – loose teeth might be signs of severe periodontal disease already. Don’t take it lightly. Get it treated as soon as possible to lessen the risk of needing replacement.
  • Pus development – if you start noticing pus around the base of your teeth, this is a sign of a more serious infection that could easily spread to other parts of your mouth. Have it treated right away and your dentist might prescribe antibiotics.

Much like every other common dental problems, you can prevent gum disease. Since gum disease is also caused by bacteria found in plaque that attacks the ligament of your gums, it can easily be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene habits.

We can’t stress enough how brushing your teeth at least three times a day makes a difference. It’s not just a proverbial advice given to you when you were a kid. It helps makes a whole lot of difference when you’re older.

Paying your dentist a visit every other month or so for general cleaning would also be a wise move and would severely contribute to keeping up your oral health to its prime level. Using a tartar-control toothpaste will also help keep tartar and plaque at bay.

Bad Breath

Nothing is more embarrassing than bad breath. Sadly, bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common oral problem across all ages. But, as much as we might think this is common, it’s usually a sign of other dental problems.

Studies show about 85% of people with bad breath are suffering some other dental problem that is to blame. Bad breath is common symptom of gum disease, cavities or oral cancer. Just because you have bad breath does not automatically mean that you have a serious dental problem. It could be cause by what you’ve been eating. There are certain foods that causes bad breath such as garlic, onions, sweets or liquor among many others.

Some spices also causes an odour in your breath. For instance, you’ve been eating meals with lots of garlic. The strong garlic smell will eventually stick to the surfaces inside your mouth and cannot be easily removed with one or two brushes. Same is to be said for cumin. This is why brushing after every meal helps control bad breath as well as other oral problems. Bring a small bottle of mouthwash with you as well if you can’t brush right after. Or at least gargle with fresh water after you eat.

If the odour persists, visit your dentist just so other serious oral conditions can be ruled out.

Dry Mouth

Sometimes called xerostomia, dry mouth is simply what it’s called. This is a condition where saliva glands are not able to produce enough saliva to keep the inside of the mouth moist. Saliva has antibacterial components that helps keep plaque off of teeth surface. It is caused by several things such as smoking, prescription medication, aging or stress.

People who are on medication or chemotherapy are at very high risk of dry mouth. Same goes for the older population. The absence of moisture in the mouth contributes to more plaque buildup, cavities and eventually, tooth decay. Common symptoms of dry mouth could be as simple as chapped lips, mouth sores and bad breath but, more serious symptoms can manifest such as gum irritation and a burning feeling in the mouth.

Though there is no absolute cure for dry mouth, drinking more water is proven to help keep the mouth hydrated.

Tooth Crowding

Tooth crowding isn’t only an aesthetic dental problem. It can cause alignment issues that eventually can cause temporomandibular jaw disorder or TMJ. Misaligned bites can cause jaw problems that might need surgery to fix.

Fixing tooth crowding would be the best way – though lengthy procedure – prevent jaw disorders and misaligned bites. This naturally for many. When baby teeth falls out and new teeth comes out in a peculiar position, crowding may ensue. Teeth also shift without the person knowing so it may eventually result to getting them realigned.

Braces are the go-to treatment for teeth crowding with severe realignment needed. Depending on the crowding, orthodontists might even suggest extraction to make room for teeth to shift.

If it doesn’t require extensive realignment, one might opt for clear aligners called Invisalign. It requires more discipline since they need to be taken out when eating, cleaned before putting them back on and replaced every fortnight. But, for those who don’t want the aesthetic disadvantage of mental braces, this would be the way to go.

Visit an orthodontist to see if you have teeth crowding.

Root Infection

If you’ve heard of or tried a root canal treatment, then you know a root infection is a serious problem. It’s painful and very uncomfortable.

A root infection occurs when bacteria infects the root part of your tooth. It enters the center of your tooth and attacks the pulp tissue inside. You will experience what you might rule off as a generic toothache. Eventually, an abscess will form indicating that the root infection has developed to a more severe case. If you do not see any abscess but have persisting pain, visit your dentist.

Possibly, a root canal procedure might be advised and though many people think it is a painful process, it’s actually not. Dentists give their patients anesthesia and one would hardly feel any pain. You would feel the movement and pressure of the tools but there won’t be any pain until the anesthesia wears off. The healing part is where the pain comes in along with a bit of swelling that an ice pack can’t alleviate.

During a root canal procedure, your dentist or endodontist drills a hole through the middle of your tooth. He/She then takes a file to grind away the damaged surface and provide access to the root. Once the opening has been made, a special suction tool is used to suck out all the pus and infected tissue. It is then sealed with a gutta percha which is a hardening material that will keep bacteria from entering the root again as well as strengthen the tooth.

Tooth Loss

Many of the common dental problems we’ve already discussed can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease eventually leads to this if not treated immediately. Tooth decay can also lead to an extraction if the tooth can no longer be saved. Same goes for root infections. Consequently, when this happens you only have two options: dentures or dental implants.

Of course, as we age, our teeth also weaken from all the years of chewing, biting and grinding. Even if you don’t have any serious dental problems, you are still at a risk of tooth loss because it does come with age. WHO’s (World Help Organization) study shows that 30% of people in the world who are between the ages of 65-74 have no natural teeth. That’s the reason why seniors need dentures. Harsh truth but that’s the cycle of life. It’s not something to dread though. Because of dental technology and techniques innovations, it’s now possible to permanently restore teeth with dental implants.

Dental implants are permanently lodged into your jaw, making them durable, strong and long-lasting. They look and feel like natural teeth and restores function completely. The procedure is done over several sessions as to give the patient to heal but has been the choice of many older patients.

Of course, dentures are still an option for those who want a more affordable and quicker solution. There are partial and full dentures one can get depending on the severity of tooth loss. Go over the options with your dentists or a denturist. 

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the deadliest dental problem one can encounter. A study done by the Oral Cancer Foundation shows the drastic numbers of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is considered to be a head and neck cancer. Of all the head and neck cancer cases in the United States, 85% of that is oral cancer. In the US alone, approximately 54,000 diagnosed cases have been reported resulting to 13,500 deaths per year. The numbers alone is enough to emphasize the seriousness of this dental problem. Oral cancer death rates are higher than other kinds of cancer because it doesn’t present any pain or primary symptoms.

It starts with a small pinkish growth in the mouth. It’s unlikely to be noticed since our mouths don’t innately have smooth surfaces and are naturally pink or reddish in color. Which is why a visit to your dentist will help. Dentists know what to look out for on regular checkups and would be able to recommend further testing if needed.

Oral cancer is commonly caused by smoking and drinking. Smokers – heavy or light – need to undergo regular dental checkups and cleaning to decrease the chance of getting oral cancer. Same goes for those who like to indulge in alcoholic drinks.

Common Prevention

All of these common dental problems can be prevented and kept at bay with very simple day-to-day oral hygiene measures. Brushing in the morning and before bed alone won’t be enough to make sure your oral health is on tip top shape.

Much like everything else, you have to spend some money on your dental needs. Pay your dentist a visit regularly. Get your teeth checked and cleaned on a regular basis as well. These might be simple steps but you lessen the chances of you getting dental problems that can lead to something worse.

Aside from these, limit your intake of foods that will contribute to the buildup of plaque on your teeth like the following:

  • Sweets – hard or soft candies, caramel, chocolate, cookies, etc.
  • Carbonated drinks – they’re very high in sugar which bacteria feeds off of
  • Snacks – most store-bought snacks have loads of sugar, sodium and other preservatives that are harmful to your teeth enamel

If you’ve been smoking for a while now, you might want to start decreasing your nicotine intake. Smoking leads not only to teeth stains but can lead to oral, throat and lung cancer as well. If you don’t smoke, keep it that way. For those who are heavy drinkers by habit, drink more in moderation. Alcohol also contributes too many dental problems especially if you don’t have a habit of brushing after.

Develop and religiously practice a healthy dental habit as well. Expand to more than just brushing your teeth in the morning and before bed. Include flossing every other day and gargling with mouthwash after you brush to help get rid of bacteria.

And, as basic as this sound, drink more water. Water helps keep your mouth hydrated and clean. Also, use a toothpaste brand that’s high in fluoride. That will help strengthen the enamel around your teeth!


We'll do everything we can to deliver an optimal experience & excellent patient care!

error: Content is protected !!