What problems can dental diseases cause?
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is an all-to-common symptom of dental diseases that has many causes. Many people address this issue by covering up the problem with mouthwash or breath mints. This does not solve the underlying problem. If you are experiencing chronic bad breath, your best bet is to see a dentist. There are a number of reasons your breath is bad, and some of these causes can mean serious health issues. For example:
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal and other dental disease
- Oral cancer
- Dry mouth
Oral cancer affects over 30,000 people a year, and although treatment is effective, many people do not get diagnosed until the cancer has become advanced, bringing the survival rate down to only about 60%. This happens because many people do not recognize the signs of oral cancer. Regular dental visits can help with early detection, because your dentist can spot abnormalities in your mouth that warrant further testing. Ask your dentist about screening for oral cancer at your next visit.
This is a common dental health issue that is treatable and preventable. It is also a serious problem that has been linked to heart disease and other health problems. The disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. This dental disease is one of the major reasons for tooth loss among adults. Regular dental exams can catch this problem and treat it long before tooth loss occurs.
Your teeth are strong, yet sensitive. One of the biggest enemies to your tooth enamel is acid erosion. Over time, repeated exposure can cause erosion of the enamel, and in severe cases can result in cracks that are painful and can result in the loss of the tooth. Limiting your exposure to foods and beverages high in acid as well as rinsing thoroughly after consumption is one way to prevent this problem. Talk to your dentist about the condition of your tooth enamel, and ways to protect it.
Dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and tooth erosion can cause severe pain. Toothaches can also be a signal that you have an abscess or infection that if left untreated, can cause very serious health issues. Toothaches should not be ignored.
Grinding your teeth, or clenching your jaws can be a symptom of stress. It can also cause problems with your teeth and jaws. Often, your dentist will be able to spot such problems in a routine checkup. Grinding your teeth can put stress on them that can cause chips, cracks and breakage. Your dentist can help you find solutions to this problem, such as wearing a mouth guard at night.
Another stress-related dental issue is temporal-mandibular disorder, or TMD. This is a problem with your jaws and jaw joints that can affect your ability to open and close your mouth or chew properly. If you notice that you are having any difficulties chewing, or a "clicking" feeling when you chew, let your dentist know.
Another warning sign of potential problems that you should call your dentist about is if you notice any changes in the way your teeth are aligned. You would most likely notice this when your jaws are shut with your upper and lower teeth together. If something feels or looks different, call your dentist.
You can help prevent dental diseases
Most dental problems are common and preventable. Regular brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, daily flossing and a visit to the dentist every six months can prevent dental disease from occurring, and quickly treat any issues before they develop into serious problems.
In addition to brushing and flossing, you can protect your teeth by avoiding excess sugar, acidic foods, rinsing your mouth frequently and avoiding chewing on hard foods such as ice and hard candies. Protecting your teeth not only preserves your smile, it also protects your overall health. What steps are you taking to prevent dental diseases from affecting your health today?