We’re all looking for ways to improve our oral health, whether it be brushing and flossing more or changing up our diet to avoid sugary or acidic foods. These are all great things to do, but it can be difficult to truly know the condition of your oral health without understanding some of the most common oral health issues. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of these and give you some tips for avoiding them.
Tooth decay or cavities are one of the most common oral health conditions in the country. Tooth decay is the result of sugar mixing with plaque, a sticky bacteria substance that coats the teeth. When combined, they produce a harmful acid that attacks the teeth. Cavities can also result when tooth enamel decays, you have dry mouth due to medication, or you haven’t been drinking enough water. Saliva contains bacteria that fight tooth decay, so not staying hydrated leaves your teeth susceptible to decay. Ultimately, the best way to avoid tooth decay is to brush and floss twice daily, stay hydrated, and avoid sugary food or drinks.
It’s important to remember that when you brush, you’re not just doing it for your teeth; your gums need to stay healthy as well. The most common condition associated with the gums is called gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about half of Americans have this condition. Although gingivitis itself can’t cause any serious problems like tooth decay or tooth loss, if it’s not taken care of, it will spread to the tooth root, periodontal ligament, and jawbone, leading to periodontal disease which can cause tooth loss.
Like many other forms of cancer, oral cancer is a serious and deadly disease. Someone in the United States dies every hour from oral cancer according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Although the disease is more common in adults over the age of 40, it can be found in people of all ages and can be caused by any number of things such as tobacco and alcohol use and HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. Most oral health specialists are trained to screen for oral cancer each time you visit, so scheduling more dental appointments will help you catch the disease in its earliest stages when it’s most treatable. However, oral cancer can often be mistaken for harmless mouth sores, so make sure you let your dentist know if you’re concerned about this.
Aside from tooth decay, tooth trauma is one of the most common conditions threatening your teeth. Tooth trauma refers to any physical injury sustained to the teeth or their structure. This could be something like a tooth chip, shift, or crack and can range from being a harmless issue to a serious medical condition. If you ever sustain an injury to the mouth, you should always consult with a dentist immediately. Even if there is no pain, swelling, or bleeding, the tooth could still have hairline fractures that could be a problem.
Although many people think of misaligned teeth as an aesthetic issue, that’s only half the story. Crooked, slanted, or twisted teeth cause a lot more harm than creating an unpleasant smile; they can contribute to most of the conditions we discussed above. A small amount of misalignment won’t be a problem, however, if the issue is bad enough, it can make it very difficult to brush or floss properly leaving your teeth open to tooth decay and your gums to periodontal disease. If you sustain an injury to your mouth, misaligned teeth are more likely to be damaged, especially if your jaw is out of alignment as a result.
Speak With An Orthodontist
A lot goes into maintaining your oral health like remembering to brush and floss twice daily while avoiding sugary and otherwise unhealthy foods. However, the other side of this is ensuring that teeth are aligned correctly to allow for a proper bite and to make it easier to maintain an oral health routine. If you have any questions about this, speak with our San Francisco orthodontists at Camilo Riano Orthodontics.