Five Common Dental Issues and How to Avoid Them

Let's face it. Going to the dentist isn't a highlight we typically look forward to. It's mostly psychological, but some people become incredibly anxious at the thought of going to the dentist. With instruments being used inside your head, it can be a little intimidating. However, what all too many people fail to consider is the fact that they could make their dentists visits more pleasant by simply making a few small daily changes.

Here at Newnham Family Dental Mt Gravatt, we're strong believers that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. All it takes is some lifestyle changes. Let's examine five common dental issues and what you can do to avoid them in the first place.

1. Tooth Fractures

Are you the type who throws away the ice at the bottom of your cup or chews it up? If you do have a tendency to chew on ice, this can be a great way to feel like you're snacking without taking on unnecessary calories. However, what most people don't realize is that this can lead to small dental fractures.

How does this happen? It has to do with the extreme temperature fluctuation. However, there are other common activities that can cause similar issues. These include but are not limited to:

  • Sucking on fruit pits
  • Chewing popcorn kernels

When these fractures occur, the microscopic cracks on in the enamel can lead to a number of issues. This is because small fractures often go unnoticed. This makes it easier to neglect seeking help that will prevent further damage.

The lesson: next time you finish a beverage, think twice before you chew on the ice!

2. Bad Breath

It can be very embarrassing when you know your breath isn't its best, and you have to engage in social interaction. We want to look our best, but, when you're suffering with bad breath, it's hard to make a great first impression no matter how long you spend on hair and makeup.

If you've noticed recurring bad breath, it's important to first identify the catalyst. Just some of the common issues that lead to bad breath include:

  • Gum disease
  • Oral cancer
  • Cavities
  • Bacteria

All too often, people try to mask bad breath with mouthwash or chewing gum. While this can provide temporary relief, all you're doing is putting a bandaide on a much bigger underlying issue. If you don't regularly floss, try a week of daily flossing and brushing twice per day and see if you notice a difference. If you still notice persistent bad breath, it's important that you get in to see your dentist as soon as possible so they can help you get to the root of the problem (and continue the daily brushing and flossing, of course!)

3. Cavities

Especially in a society where sugary treats face us around every corner, it's increasingly difficult to keep cavities at bay. In fact, it's so prevalent that it ranks second to the common cold as the most common disease in the United States.

Just because it's common, however, doesn't mean you should overlook its severity. When left unchecked, cavities lead to a number of other serious dental issues. Many people associate cavities as a childhood issues, but they can impact anyone at any age. Aside from eating sugary foods, you can also get cavities due to dry mouth. Just a few ways to fight off cavities and enjoy years of great oral health include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice per day
  • Flossing daily
  • Going to the dentist regularly
  • Eating healthful foods

Everyone is unique, and your dentist can provide you with personalized tips to help you prevent cavities.

4. Gum Disease

With so much focus on the teeth, it can be easy to overlook proper gum health. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection impacting the gums. It is directly linked to tooth loss and even heart disease, so it's more important to consider than many give it credit for.

Gum disease is primarily a problem for people over age 30, but it can impact anyone. Those at the highest risk include smokers, diabetics, and people who suffer with dry mouth. Just a few signs you may have gum disease include:

  • Bleeding, swollen, irritated gums
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain when chewing

If you have any of these symptoms, it's important to have it checked out as soon as possible. You should also ensure you're brushing twice per day and flossing daily. This reduces your risk of serious issues like tooth loss.

5. Toothaches

Anyone who has ever suffered with a toothache knows just how debilitating this can be. The throbbing of a toothache can be enough to render you useless, and the pain can be unbearable. It can range from mild sensitivity after eating hot or cold foods to pounding pain that requires emergency attention.

There are products on the market that work to reduce sensitivity, and over-the-counter pain medications can work to reduce the pain. However, this doesn't reverse the underlying cause of the problem. It's important to see your dentist to receive the necessary work to prevent further problems. In the meantime, regular and proper dental hygiene is a must.

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way

We've all been there. We accidentally fall asleep in front of the television after eating a few too many sweets. Maybe we don't make flossing a part of our daily routine. While a single occurrence doesn't seem to be a big deal, over time, these isolated incidents add up.

By understanding these five common dental problems and how to avoid them, you can be on your way to a healthy smile and a new perspective of how a dental visit could be.