Causes and Prevention for Common Dental Conditions

dental conditions

The most common dental health issues generally start with plaque and tartar buildup. Many dental conditions can be avoided with consistent brushing, flossing, the use of mouthwash, and dental checkups. The more you know about the most common dental problems, the better prepared you are to prevent them.


Most adults have experienced tooth decay. This is because most of the things you eat and drink introduce sugar and starch into your mouth. The natural bacteria in your mouth feed on those substances, resulting in layers of plaque on the enamel of the teeth. The plaque erodes the protective enamel until cavities form.

You may not initially see those cavities, especially when they are tucked away between teeth or in the back of your mouth. However, the symptoms are hard to ignore:

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  • Painfulness when you eat or drink something cold.
  • Sensitivity and pain when biting.
  • Achiness along the jawline.
  • Visible discoloration and holes in your teeth.

As soon as you experience any of these conditions, schedule an appointment with your dentist. The good news is that you can prevent many cavities by avoiding food and drink with a lot of sugar and starch and brushing and rinsing your mouth after eating these goods.

Tooth Erosion

Cavities are one form of tooth erosion. When acids and plaque attack the enamel of your teeth, you may notice cracks in the tooth or experience sensitivity. Other symptoms include discoloration, rounding of the teeth, pitting of the enamel, or a transparent appearance. As with other dental conditions, a good dental care routine can prevent erosion, and the only way to recover from tooth erosion is through professional care.

Bacteria on Your Tongue

It’s natural for bacteria to grow on your tongue; some bacteria are good for your oral health and some of them are bad. When you don’t clean your tongue, you may notice a yellowish coating or discoloration on the surface. You may also experience bad breath, a loss of active taste buds, or a yeast infection. The quick and easy prevention for these problems is brushing your tongue as part of your oral health routine.

Swollen Gums

Gum disease, sometimes referred to as a periodontal disease, is an infection in the gums. You may initially notice inflammation and then experience gingivitis. If not treated, gingivitis progresses to more serious conditions, including the loss of teeth. The first symptoms of gum disease are easy to ignore:

  • Bad breath in spite of consistent dental care routines
  • Red, tender gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus at the base of your teeth

These conditions can usually be avoided through healthy oral hygiene routines, and routine visits to your dentist are crucial for catching trouble early.

Mouth Sores

Cankers are those sores that appear inside the mouth. They may be the result of minor injuries inside your mouth, too much sugar, or other illnesses. Cankers only become problematic if they last longer than two weeks. Cold sores show up on and around the lips. They are contagious but can be treated. Yeast infections, such as oral thrush, can also cause painfulness in the mouth. These sores can’t really be prevented and generally clear up on their own. However, if they last and continue to cause you discomfort, visit a dentist to determine any underlying causes.

Dry Mouth

The saliva in your mouth has antibacterial components that combat plaque. It is important to your oral health. Unfortunately, age, some medications, and chemotherapy may cause saliva glands to not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. When this happens, you may experience sores, chapped lips, and bad breath. More severe symptoms include gum irritation and a burning feeling inside our mouth. Again, you may not be able to prevent a dry mouth, but you can reduce some of the discomforts by drinking more water.

Bad Breath

Most bad breath is a result of several dental conditions, including cavities, bacteria on your tongue, gum disease, dry mouth, and oral cancer. Mouthwash may cover some of the underlying causes of bad breath, but you should meet with your dentist to determine the source of trouble.

Although this list isn’t comprehensive, these dental conditions and many others are often prevented by brushing your teeth two to three times a day, consistent daily flossing, the use of mouthwash, and regular visits with your dentist.

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Causes and Prevention for Common Dental Conditions
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