We all want healthy teeth and gums for a winning smile, fresh breath, and a boost in our confidence level. But, did you know that about half of adults have or have had halitosis (aka bad breath)? It is one of the most common dental problems and also one of the most treatable.
Here is a look at halitosis, nine other common dental problems, and treatment options for each one.
1. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is also known as dental caries or dental cavities. It is the most common dental problem that dentists see in patients. Practically everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced tooth decay.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria form a film, called plaque, on the surface of teeth. The bacteria produce acids from the sugars in food. The acids eat away at and permanently damage the enamel, or outer layer, of the tooth. The acids then start working on the softer dentin layer beneath the enamel.
This breakdown of the tooth can lead to cavities or holes in your teeth. It can also cause toothaches, including pain when you eat and drink hot, cold, or sweet things.
2. Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the early stage and mild form of gum or periodontal disease. It is a bacterial infection that is caused by the buildup of plaque. Common symptoms are gums that are red, swollen, and bleed easily. You may also experience bad breath and sensitive teeth that hurt when you chew.
Skipping brushing and poor brushing techniques can contribute to gum disease. So, too, can crooked teeth that are hard to brush properly. Other risk factors include tobacco use, pregnancy, and diabetes.
It is important to note that gingivitis can be painless and as such, you may not notice it. This makes regular dental checkups a good idea.
Gingivitis can be treated by a thorough cleaning from your dental health professional. To prevent it from coming back, you will have to practice twice-daily brushing and flossing.
3. Bad Breath
Bad breath or halitosis is one of the most common dental problems. It is also among the most distressing. Bad breath can be caused by several different factors, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dry mouth
- Acid reflux
4. Sensitive Teeth
Your teeth become sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks when the enamel is worn away and the dentin is exposed.
The dentin has tubes that lead to the nerve deeper inside the tooth. Hot or cold substances can travel along the tubes to the nerve and cause intense pain.
Tooth sensitivity, also known as dentin hypersensitivity, can be caused by tooth decay. Other possible causes include:
- Gum disease
- Root infection
- A cracked or broken tooth
- Worn-down crown or fillings
5. Cracked or Broken Teeth
Cracked or broken teeth are most often caused by:
- Chewing hard foods
- Mouth piercings
- Grinding of teeth while you sleep