Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is by far the most common oral disorder, affecting around 50% of the adult population to some degree. Other dental problems include tooth decay, dental abscess, and periodontitis – an extreme form of gum disease.
The majority of dental problems are caused by a build up of plaque, which is itself a by-product of food and bacteria. Excess plaque in the mouth can erode teeth causing tooth decay, and irritate the gums, leading to gingivitis.
Toothache is obviously a common sign that there is a problem. This could be caused by a number of things, however. A rotting tooth may cause severe pain and sensitivity, in which case the best option is to have it removed. Wisdom teeth can also be a cause of serious discomfort, particularly as they push through the gum line during adolescence and young adulthood.
A more serious cause of toothache, however, could be a dental abscess. This is a build up of pus either in the tooth or in the bone of the jaw. If not treated, a dental abscess can cause erosion of the bone and other serious health problems.
Gum disease causes bleeding in the mouth, particularly whilst brushing or flossing. Pain or swelling in the gums is also a clear sign of gum disease. Periodontitis, whereby the gums significantly recede from the teeth, may leave teeth wobbly, unsecured, and prone to falling out.
Mild gum disease treatment is often as simple as maintaining good oral hygiene. Gingivitis can often be prevented or reversed by adhering to a dental care regime. More severe or advanced cases such as periodontitis may require treatment from a dentist. This could be non-intrusive surgery, or a course of medication.
Similarly, good dental care can fight a lot of problems with teeth. The removal of plaque from the surface of the teeth through brushing is the most effective way of keeping teeth healthy. If plaque is allowed to gather on the surface of the tooth, it hardens to become tartar. This will most likely require a more comprehensive tooth-cleaning process best undertaken by a dental care professional.
More serious cases of tooth decay, infection or dental abscesses may require painful and intrusive root canal treatment if they aren't dealt with early enough.
The easiest way to treat gum and tooth disorders is to prevent them. A daily dental care regime is by far the best means to achieve this. Brushing twice or three times a day is crucial to good oral hygiene, as is flossing on a daily basis. Although some mouthwashes can help treat particular conditions, swilling over-the-counter mouthwash needn't be an integral part of your daily oral care.
The other way to keep healthy teeth and gums is to monitor your intake of food and drink. Try to keep the amount of sugar in your diet low. This includes both added sugar, and foods whereby sugar is a main ingredient, such as confectionary and fizzy drinks.
High volumes of acid, as found in citrus fruits, can erode tooth enamel (the protective layer on the surface of your teeth) and cause decay. Therefore even otherwise healthy foods that are high in natural sugars and acids should be regulated.
By watching what you eat and drink and maintaining good oral hygiene habits, including regular dental check ups, common teeth and gum disorders can be avoided.
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