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Wednesday: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Tooth sensitivity, toothaches, bad breath and dry mouth - these are just a few of the most common dental concerns with adults. As we get older our tooth enamel weakens, the gums recede, and other issues can arise. The good news is, most of these problems can be prevented with proper oral care - brushing at least twice a day, flossing, using antibacterial mouthwash and coming in for your cleaning appointments. At Lakefront Family Dentistry we want everyone to be responsible for their oral hygiene and health by being aware of these common dental problems, what causes them and how to prevent them.
Cavities are damaged areas in teeth caused by a breakdown of the tooth enamel by acids produced by bacteria located in the plaque that collects on teeth. Specifically, eating and drinking foods high in carbohydrates cause this bacteria to produce the acids. These acids can cause the tooth enamel to break down or demineralize. This tooth deterioration can lead to tooth decay which will then require fillings. Common symptoms of cavities or tooth decay include: tooth aches, sensitivity, sudden pain with eating/drinking something sweet or cold, pain when biting or chewing. Minimize your consumption of sugary drinks such as sodas, sports drinks, and juices and reduce frequent snacking and smoking if possible. Stick to sugar free gum and hard candies, or look for brands with xylitol.
Periodontal or gum disease is usually caused by inflammation and infection of the gums and bone that supports the teeth. Additional contributors can be chronic conditions including poor oral hygiene, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and genetics. Smoking cigarettes or tobacco use is also a prevailing risk factor for gum disease. It’s important to treat early formation of gum disease so that the bone supporting the teeth won’t be lost which can lead to loose teeth and require extractions. Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums when you floss or brush, bad breath despite maintaining good oral hygiene, swollen (red or tender gums) around the base where your teeth meets your gums, loose teeth or pus development.
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is noticeable when a person’s breath has an unpleasant odor. It may be caused by a number of things such as lingering food particles in the mouth, recently eaten odorous food, dryness of the mouth, poor dental hygiene, mouth infections, or sickness. Sometimes bad breath can be resolved by simply brushing the teeth and tongue to remove plaque buildup and bacteria. When the source is dental disease or infection then treatment by a dentist may be necessary. Good dental hygiene plays an important role in bad breath prevention. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months and schedule regular dental exams and cleanings.
Dry mouth can also be a factor for bad breath. Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a condition where saliva glands are not keeping the inside of the mouth moist. This is problematic because saliva helps keep plaque at bay with its antibacterial components. Dry mouth is often caused by stress, smoking, prescription medication, or aging. People at higher risk of dry mouth include the older population and those on medication or chemotherapy. Common symptoms of dry mouth can be chapped lips, mouth sores, bad breath, gum irritation and a burning sensation in the mouth. Drinking more water is proven to help keep the mouth hydrated.
Tooth discoloration can occur from a number of causes. One of the most prevalent reasons is drinking beverages such as wine, soda, and coffee. These stain the teeth enamel and can cause long-term discoloration. Other common causes include smoking, poor oral hygiene, certain medical conditions and genetics. Getting a brighter smile can be achieved with professional teeth whitening at Lakefront Family Dentistry. For patients looking for bright results teeth whitening is a great option and in just 1-2 weeks your teeth will look visibly whiter.
Cavities, cracked or fractured teeth, and trauma to the tooth can lead to an infection. When a tooth becomes infected, bacteria will infiltrate the root and attack the pulp tissue inside. The pulp is where all of the nerve endings and blood supply to tooth are located. If left untreated this infection can become painful, damage the nerves, or abscess. A root canal procedure may be recommended to treat a tooth root infection. While it’s often thought of being a painful procedure, it’s actually not as dentists provide patients with anesthesia which numbs any pain or discomfort. If you think you have a root infection, schedule an appointment with us right away before it becomes too late to save your natural tooth.
Oral cancer is one of the most consequential dental problems one can have. Most cancers of the oral cavity can be recognized as a small lesion, lump or growth inside the mouth. Leading contributors are high risk habits including cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco use and excessive alcohol. Prevention is key when it comes to oral cancers. Dr. Bellingham performs an oral cancer screening on all of her patients at each examination appointment as a part of her thorough and comprehensive evaluation. If you notice an unusual growth or are concerned about a sudden change in your mouth, contact your dental professional sooner rather than later.
Happy Smiles, Happy Life!