Common Oral Issues and How to Take Care of Them

One needs to adopt a regular oral hygiene routine to maintain our oral health and overall health in good condition. A few minutes of daily dedication towards our oral care routine and the results will be long lasting (sparkling too!).  While some may be tempted to skip the regular routine, some others may feel that just brushing the teeth is enough as long as there are no issues in the mouth. Nevertheless, practicing oral hygiene routine with the right choice of products is essential if you want to avoid taking an emergency trip to the dentist.

COMMON ORAL ISSUES

PLAQUE

Try running your tongue over your teeth. Feels fuzzy? That’s plaque. Everyone has dental plaque. When the bacteria in your mouth mixes with sugary and starchy food, plaque is formed. A regular oral hygiene routine with brushing and flossing can help get rid of plaque. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar and may cause cavities, gingivitis (gum disease) and even tooth loss.

Causes of Plaque

  • Consuming lots of sugary and starchy food.
  • Dry mouth due to certain medications.

Complications

  • Gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease).
  • Tooth decay and loss.
  • Tooth infection (abscessed tooth).

GINGIVITIS

Gingivitis is a painful inflammation of the gums. The condition occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and can be controlled with oral hygiene habits. Main symptom is red and puffy gums that bleed when brushing. Gingivitis can also result from bacterial, viral or fungal infection.

Causes of gingivitis

  • Bacterial buildup around the teeth.
  • Changes in hormones during puberty, menopause, menstruation or pregnancy causing the gums to become sensitive, raising the risk of inflammation.
  • Certain medications may reduce saliva products and cause oral issues.
  • Smoking may increase the risk of developing gingivitis.

Complications

  • Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.
  • Loss of teeth.
  • Bleeding from gums when brushing or flossing.
  • Receding gums.
  • Infection in the gingiva or jaw bone.

PERIODONTITIS

Periodontitis is a bacterial infection that starts by inflaming the soft tissues around the teeth. If not treated on time, it erodes the bone leading to teeth loss. This can affect anyone with poor oral hygiene while some people are also genetically prone to periodontitis. This begins with inflammation in the gums called ‘gingivitis’ with bleeding gums and teeth discoloration. Gradually teeth start losing bone support and becomes loose. This may also cause inflammatory response throughout the body. In the advanced stage, one tends to experience severe pain, bad breath and also teeth loss.

Causes of periodontitis

  • Plaque forms in the teeth.
  • If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar.
  • Plaque can cause gingivitis.
  • Ongoing gum irritation and swelling may cause periodontitis.

Complications

  • Teeth loss.
  • Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through gum tissues, affecting other parts of the body.
  • Periodontitis may also be linked with others health issues like respiratory problems, coronary artery disease, controlling blood sugar etc.

CAVITIES/CARIES

Most animals do not get cavities because their food (diet) aren’t that high in sugar like us. Also they chew on more hard materials which helps to keep their teeth clean. Who knew animal teeth were so interesting? Caries or cavities can occur at any age. Caries are formed when the bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugar from the food to produce acid which demineralizes the enamel and dentine of the teeth. When left untreated caries develop into cavities. Cavity is a hole formed in the tooth as a result of decay.

Causes of caries

  • Poor dental hygiene habits.
  • Consuming food and drinks that stick to the teeth.
  • Frequent intake of sugary food.
  • Dry mouth and lack of saliva.

Complications

  • Loss of enamel and dentine.
  • Tooth pain and loss.

TARTAR

Bacteria in the mouth thrive on starchy and sugary foods. When the bacteria in the mouth mixes with the food debris therein, it forms plaque. When left untreated, plaque hardens and forms into tartar.

Causes of tartar

  • Bacteria mixes with food debris in the mouth and forms tartar.
  • Consumption of too much sugary food, tobacco, wine or soft drinks.
  • A pH of the saliva with low acidity may result in tartar formation.

 Complications

  • If not removed, tartar hardens into a brittle layer called calculus.
  • Calculus may enter the digestive system and blood causing narrowing of blood vessels.
  • Hardened calculus irritates gums and make them bleed.

 ENAMEL EROSION

The outer layer of the teeth is made of enamel which protects the teeth against physical and chemical damage. Enamel is the hardest tissue of the human body and is even tougher than the bone. Enamel is the first line of defense for the teeth. However, it is prone to wear and tear over the period of time.

 Causes of enamel erosion

  • Starchy and sugary food. Sodas.
  • Acidic food such as apples, citrus fruits, berries.
  • Excess Vitamin C. (found it citrus fruits)

 Complications

  • Enamel erosion causes hypersensitivity.
  • Cracked and chipped teeth.
  • Indentions known as cups on the teeth’s surface.
  • Teeth discolouration.

 PULPITIS

The teeth have three layers. Enamel on the outside, dentin that supports the enamel and the dental pulp on the innermost part of the tooth. The center part of the tooth is made of connective tissues and blood vessels and this part may get inflamed due to cavities or other oral issues. Symptoms include sensitivity to sweet food and drinks, sharp pain, swelling around tooth and gums and bad breath.

Causes of pulpitis

  • Bacteria in the oral cavity produces acid that can wear away the enamel.
  • Cracks can happen due to tooth injury.
  • Certain dental procedures, if not done properly can cause pulpitis too.

Complications

  • Swollen neck glands.

 HOW TO CONTROL ORAL ISSUES?

While most of us take good care of our body and ensure we get enough exercise, not much attention is paid to oral hygiene. A proper oral hygiene involves looking after your teeth and gums to ensure their optimum functions. It is never too late to prioritize your oral care routine, and ensure it takes care of your overall health.

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Choose Toothpaste with good ingredients.
  2. Floss your teeth every day and specially before bedtime, to ensure that no food particles are left lodged between the teeth.
  3. Rinse your mouth with a good Mouthwash. Swishing action will penetrate deep into tooth crevices, and clean out any residual food.
  4. Consume a balanced diet, and limit the number of between-meal snacks. Avoid food with extra sugar and starch. Choose nutritious foods such as plain yoghurt, cheese, fruits and vegetables.
  5. Get a professional dental cleaning regularly. This will remove all traces of plaque and tartar from the mouth, and prevent serious dental issues.