If you haven’t already, remember to schedule an appointment with our family dentist in Kalamazoo, MI. During your appointment, we will check for common dental health problems and complete an oral cancer screening. We may take any necessary X-rays and offer our guidance on how to maintain a healthy smile.
Here are the 7 common dental health problems you should avoid. Also, be sure to check out our blog post on how your oral health needs change as you age.
1. Bad Breath
Bad breath (halitosis) can be embarrassing, especially during a job interview or date. But bad breath could also be a sign of a deeper problem with your oral health. That’s why it’s important to bring up your bad breath to our dentist during your next appointment.
Using a mouth rinse or chewing gum will temporarily mask the odor, but you’ll need to see our dentist to discover a more long lasting solution. Once we resolve the underlying issue (such as a decaying tooth) then your bad breath will resolve.
2. Tooth Sensitivity
Do you ever feel a twinge of pain while sipping a cup of hot coffee or eating ice cream? Do you wince a little in the winter when the cold air hits your teeth? If so, you may be losing tooth enamel.
Enamel is the protective outer layer of your teeth. But once this enamel starts to erode, it reveals the more sensitive layer of dentin beneath. Dentin is made of living tissue and microscopic tubes.
If the dentin is exposed, heat and cold are able to reach the nerves in your tooth pulp. Sticky and/or acidic foods can also travel through these microscopic tubes to reach your nerves, causing tooth sensitivity. We can offer solutions to treat the dental sensitivity and discuss the causes of your sensitivity.
3. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is the second most common disease in the United States. The good news is that you have the power to prevent cavities by practicing good oral hygiene.
Cavities are caused by an invisible film of bacteria called dental plaque. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once daily removes this plaque so you can maintain a healthy smile. We also recommend that you see us on a regular basis, as determined by your dentist, for your routine teeth cleaning and oral examination.
Only a dental professional can remove tartar. During your appointment, we will also take any necessary X-rays and examine the inside of your mouth to diagnose any issues as early as possible.
4. Gum Disease
Dental plaque also causes gum disease. Gingivitis (gum inflammation) is the early stage of gum disease. But you can reverse gingivitis by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing our dentist regularly. The same cannot be said of, which is a gum infection.
If you have periodontitis, we can only manage the symptoms of the condition through scaling and root planing. That is why it is important that you schedule an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible if you notice that your gums are bleeding, swollen, or sore. All of these are symptoms of gum disease. If diagnosed and treated early, teeth can be saved.
5. Mouth Sores
Not all mouth sores are the same. Mouth sores inside the mouth (canker sores) are quite common and usually disappear on their own. But be sure to call our office if a lesion persists beyond a couple of weeks.
Cold sores develop on the edges of your lips and are caused by the Herpes simplex virus. While cold sores are contagious, they tend to come and go.
6. Oral Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that over 53,000 Americans will get oral or throat cancer this year. Fortunately, we offer oral cancer screenings so we’re able to detect the condition.
You may have a higher risk of getting oral cancer if you smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and spend a lot of time outdoors without sun protection on the lips. You should also mention to our dentist if you have a family history of cancer, even if it’s not oral cancer.
7. Dental Emergencies
Don’t wait until you’re in unbearable pain to see our dentist! Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Also, seeing us right away will help you save money in the long run. If we can resolve the dental problem earlier, more conservative and less costly treatment can be completed.