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5 Common Dental Problems and How to Avoid Them

In many ways, your mouth is a window into your health, and when it’s not healthy, it’s devastating. We use our mouths to smile and signal friendliness, to chew food and to speak. For such a small space, the mouth is hugely important - and thus, the task of keeping it healthy should have a meaningful, substantial place in your daily routine.

The American Dental Association recommends thoroughly brushing your teeth twice a day. Additionally, flossing daily is extremely important because it removes bits of food stuck between the teeth, and it strengthens the gums. As part of a daily routine, you should brush your tongue to cleanse it, as well as examining your mouth for tooth discoloration or cracks, or changes to the appearance of gums and tongue.  All of this simple, preventative maintenance can limit the time you spend in the dentist’s chair, and it will prevent much of the chronic problems that bring in repeat patients.  Below are some of the most common dental problems we see and ways you can avoid them.

Gum Disease:

Gum disease is typically caused by bad oral hygiene, smoking and genetic susceptibility. According to the NIH, gum disease sufferers don't often show symptoms until their 30s and 40s, though even teenagers can often have gingivitis, the milder form of the disease. 

Periodontitis is the more severe form of gum disease and, according to the Mayo Clinic, it can put you at greater risk for heart attack or stroke. How? Bacteria can be inhaled or enter your blood through the gums, eventually affecting your heart and lungs.

Symptoms of gum disease include constant bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums and loose or sensitive teeth. The NIH reports that treatment often includes a deep cleaning or scraping tartar from below the gum line.

Tooth Sensitivity:

There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, but the biggest tends to be exposed root surfaces. When gums recede, even just a tiny bit, the root of the tooth can become permanently exposed. The root surface is porous, which allows those hot and cold fluids you ingest to stimulate the nerve in the center of the tooth, resulting in pain. But tooth sensitivity also can be a symptom of more severe problems, so it's best to see your Southfield dentist.

Yellow Teeth:

Teeth yellow over time due to what you consume. Red wine and coffee are major culprits, but there are many surprising foods that can also alter the color of teeth. While yellowing is primarily a cosmetic concern, your smile is one of the first things people see - and you want it to look great!  

Southfield Family Dental Center has multiple solutions for those looking to whiten and brighten their smile. Zoom Whitening is a fantastic choice, with a long track record of results, and it is often very cost effective. Contact us today if you’re interested in teeth whitening, and we’ll walk you through your options.

Cavities:

Bacteria and people are a lot alike: we both love sugar and starch. When you eat your delicious blueberry muffin and follow it with a glass of orange juice, your next move should be to brush your teeth. Why?  Because the bacteria in your mouth will devour the leftover sugars and starches left on your teeth, then secrete an acid waste product. This acid dissolves enamel and leaves cavities behind - the perfect place for bacteria to lodge where you can’t reach through brushing and flossing.

Prevention is key. Brushing and flossing after meals is hugely important to avoid cavities because once they form, they need to be treated with a filling, a crown or a root canal

Wisdom Teeth:

Some lucky people never have to worry about wisdom teeth, while others must have them removed. It's all about space. Those who don’t have enough space in their jaw can grow wisdom teeth that only partially erupt, which often leads to infection. Bacteria can enter into the soft gums around a partially erupted wisdom tooth, resulting in a painful infection. When this happens, the best course of action is removal of the wisdom teeth, which can cause tremendous pressure throughout the rest of the mouth. 

Wisdom teeth removal is a simple procedure. Patients are sedated or completely numbed, and once the teeth are removed the patient will need medication for a day or so, after which time the pain usually has subsided.  If your wisdom teeth are partially erupted, ask your Southfield dentist if they are a candidate for removal.

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