Far too many people around the world suffer from issues with their smiles. In fact, it is thought that around 3.5 billion people have some type of oral disease. In order to keep your smile safe, you need to be aware of any potential threats to it; as such, your dentist is here to help you become more familiar with the 3 common oral health issues listed below.
1. Tooth Decay
Despite the fact that the enamel protecting your teeth is even stronger than your bones, it is still susceptible to decay. Sugary foods and beverages can encourage oral bacteria to produce acids that can gradually wear down enamel. This leads to tooth decay, which can eventually result in small holes in the teeth known as cavities.
Tooth decay can be very dangerous if left alone. It can eventually reach the pulp of the tooth and cause a painful infection. In many cases, a badly decayed tooth might need to be extracted. Furthermore, tooth infection can sometimes lead to an abscess, which can have life-threatening consequences. It is therefore best to see a dentist as soon as you can if you think you have a cavity.
2. Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs when the soft tissues that help support your teeth become infected and inflamed. The initial stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, has relatively mild symptoms. But if gingivitis is left alone, it could eventually turn into periodontitis, a much more severe problem.
Periodontitis can make chewing very painful and is known to cause chronic bad breath. In the worst-case scenario, it could even cause you to lose your teeth. Additionally, studies indicate that periodontitis can increase your risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular issues.
3. Oral Cancer
Oral cancer may not be the most talked-about form of cancer, but you definitely shouldn’t assume that you don’t have to worry about it. In 2020, around 377,713 new cases of oral cancer were diagnosed, and there were roughly 177,757 deaths associated with the disease. Common risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco, excessive alcohol use, HPV, and being overweight.
Having oral cancer diagnosed early can improve your chances of survival. Fortunately, your dentist can screen for this dangerous disease during a routine checkup.
You need to take action if you want to maintain a healthy mouth. Make sure that you’re brushing your teeth at least two times a day in order to keep cavities and gum disease at bay. Don’t forget to also set up an appointment with your dentist every six months so that you can have potentially problematic oral health conditions caught early on.
About the Author
Dr. Sheri McIntosh is a North Texas native who is proud to be able to bring conservative, patient-focused dentistry to Fort Worth. She makes a point of keeping up with the latest dental procedures and technologies so that she can keep improving the care she provides. Her practice, Distinguished Dental, offers oral cancer screenings as well as solutions for gum disease and cavities. To schedule a consultation with Dr. McIntosh, visit her website or call (817) 337-8300.