October is Dental Hygiene Month and we are kicking it off by talking about the most common oral health issues and diseases. It’s important to be cognizant of what could be going on in your mouth because if you don’t know it exists, then you can’t treat it! Hopefully you’ll be learning about this in time to prevent rather than treat. But either way, being aware is your best defense when it comes to oral health. Part of our job as dental professionals is to teach you how to better take care of your teeth. Which is often brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and avoiding sugary and starchy foods. However, it’s also educating you with a portion of the knowledge we’ve gained as professionals in the Capital Region. So here are four common oral health issues and diseases that could be the underlying cause of issues you’re facing.
This is a very common form of gum disease and you’ve most likely heard the term before. Many people suffer from this without realizing it. But if you’ve encountered irritation, redness or inflammation in your mouth then there’s a chance that you have it. Luckily, it is easy to treat if caught early. If not, it could lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious gum disease. So let’s look at what causes this. It’s actually a very simple answer and is just poor dental hygiene practices. We all know that brushing your teeth two times a day, flossing every day and going to your dental checkups is important. These are key steps that can prevent and treat gingivitis easily, but if they are not being done it could be detrimental long-term. If you read this and begin noticing signs of gingivitis, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our dental team to help your oral health.
2. Enamel Erosion
Enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth that protects them from outside damage. Even though enamel is extremely tough, it begins to wear down over time from chemicals and physical damage. This is referred to as enamel erosion and causes long-term issues. Some common symptoms of this oral health issue is a sudden increase in sensitivity, cracks, discoloration and yellow stains, pain, and cavities forming more frequently. The main reason that many of these symptoms begin is due to the food and drinks that you ingest. In particular, sugary and starchy foods create acids that sit on your teeth and cause erosion. This can be soda, sparkling beverages, white bread and rice, and artificial sugars. It can also be caused by grinding your teeth at night, acid reflux, or certain medications.
Cavities are often the end result of the two oral issues listed above. Unfortunately, this is permanent damage to your teeth that cannot be reversed by brushing or flossing. Common reasons that cavities form are high amounts of sugar intake, bacteria build up and not properly cleaning your teeth. If treated early on, cavities are a simple fix. However, the longer they build, the bigger they become and the more issues they cause such as toothache or infections. This is why dentists push brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups so much. Many times, cavities are not felt when they first begin and you may not know that they’re there until the dentist tells you. So in between regular checkups it’s important to practice good oral hygiene to keep the extremely common cavity away.
4. Bad Breath
Bad breath may seem like something that just happens after you eat food, but it can actually be more of an issue than that. Inconsistent dental hygiene can also be the cause of this no matter if you’re eating plain rice or raw onions. If you’re not brushing and flossing on a daily basis, then the food you consume stays on your teeth or gets trapped under your tongue where bacteria then grows. Mouthwash is known to mask bad breath, but if you’re using it multiple times a day for that then you may need to take your treatment a step further. The easiest solution is good dental hygiene and regular checkups at your dentist.
If you’re experiencing any of these oral issues or diseases don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. These are four of the most common oral hygiene issues that people face and luckily many of them are easily treated if caught early. Schedule your appointment with one of our dental professionals in our Albany office to find out what your next steps are towards better oral health.