You might not like it, but your teeth are troublesome. We are not used to thinking of our teeth as living things, but the reality is that they do contain nerves and live tissues. Our mouths are a breeding ground for bacteria, both bad and good. They are thoroughly active, all of the time and in every situation. So, it is any wonder that teeth end up causing problems?
They are under a lot of strain, what with biting, chewing, grinding, talking, and aging every single day of our lives. To stay strong and healthy, they really do need a little tender love and care. This means brushing and flossing regularly (preferably twice a day, at a minimum). It means attending routine exams and check-ups at your local clinic. And it means eating a reasonably healthy diet, so that plaque does not take over. Try to avoid consuming too many sugary snacks, drinks, and breakfast cereals.
Nevertheless, problems do occur sometimes, even for patients with excellent dental care routines. So, it is important to be able to spot the signs of underlying dental conditions and understand how to solve them. While your dentist may be able to fix up your teeth in an emergency and plug up cavities with fillings, the responsibility for their health lies with you. Learn how to identify the signals for danger so that you can respond quickly and efficiently.
This guide to some of the most common dental problems will explain what to look for, which steps to take, and how to approach treatments.
- Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is also referred to as dental caries or cavities. It occurs when the bacteria in plaque is given the chance to settle on teeth. It produces an acid that slowly eats away at the tooth enamel and forms holes. This bacteria is particularly prevalent after eating sugars and starches, so limit exposure by eating a healthy diet.
- Gum Disease (Periodontitis)
This is a bacterial infection brought about by accumulations of plaque in the mouth. The bacteria eats away at the gum tissue and the ligaments that hold the teeth in place. There are five established stages of gum disease, which means that there is usually plenty of time and opportunities for patients to reverse its progress.
- Tooth Infection (Root Infection)
This happens when the root (the bottom part) of a tooth becomes infected and fills up with bacteria. It damages the nerves and the pulp tissue inside the tooth itself, if left untreated, so get to the dentist right away if you think that you might have this condition. A deep crack, fracture, or cavity can lead to an infection.