5 Most Common Dental Problems and How to Prevent Them

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.5 billion people worldwide suffer from oral diseases. This equates to about half of the world’s population. Fortunately, visiting your Palo Alto dentist and learning about common dental problems and their causes can be really helpful when it comes to prevention. Below are 5 of the most typical dental issues, along with their prevention tips. 

  1. Gum disease 

Gum disease is a widespread dental issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gum disease affects almost half of adults aged 30 years and above

Usually, there are two forms of diseases that can affect the gums: Periodontitis and gingivitis. Gingivitis is a milder type of gum disease that makes the gums swollen and bleed. The advanced stage of this condition, called Periodontitis, is when plaque build-ups beyond the gum line. Eventually, this causes the bones and gums supporting the teeth to deteriorate. 

The easiest way to avoid this condition is to practice good dental hygiene, such as regular brushing, flossing your teeth, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist for regular cleanups. Once the plaque calcifies into tartar and extends beyond the gum line, treatment options may include scraping, antibiotics, or even surgical procedures. 

  1. Cavities (a.k.a Caries or Tooth Decay) 

Tooth decay is the most prevalent non-communicable disease worldwide.  Usually, it is caused by plaque formation on teeth. The plaque produces acids that cause the enamel to decay, eventually causing cavities (small holes in the tooth).  

Cavities can be avoided by practicing basic dental hygiene. This involves flossing and brushing your teeth after each meal. It is advisable to brush with fluoride toothpaste, as it helps harden the tooth enamel. In addition, avoid sugary foods like candies, cakes, raisins, and sodas. These foods, when left on teeth, results in acid production

Treatment for dental cavities depends on the severity of the decay.  One treatment option entails getting rid of decay and filling the hole carefully with a dental filling. Another option is to replace the infected part of the tooth with a crown. Also, there is the root canal option, which entails removing the infected pulp in the tooth.  

  1. Bad Breath (a.k.a Halitosis)

This condition is characterized by a bad odor in the mouth. It is usually caused by poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, and lingering food particles and remains in your mouth. 

For a relatively common dental problem, there are several ways to prevent halitosis. The most common way is observing good oral hygiene. Brushing teeth and the tongue at least twice a day is an excellent way to start. 

Bad breath caused by dry mouth can be addressed by drinking water regularly or chewing gum or mints. 

If the source of the unpleasant odor is a dental infection, consult any of the top dentists in Palo Alto for treatment.  

  1. Sensitive teeth 

When the enamel wears away, and the dentin is exposed, your teeth become sensitive to hot and cold meals and drinks. The dentin contains tubules that lead to the nerve inside the tooth. Cold or hot foods/beverages can pass through the tubules to the nerve and can cause excruciating pain. 

Possible causes of sensitive teeth include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Enamel erosion 
  • Worn-down crown or fillings
  • Receding gums
  • A broken or cracked tooth
  • Naturally thin enamel layer 

There are various types of mouthwashes and toothpaste meant purposely for use with sensitive teeth. Your Palo Alto dentist may also suggest a fluoride treatment, gum graft, root canal, or gum graft. The preferred treatment largely depends on the severity of your condition. 

  1. Oral cancer 

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 53,000 people in the U.S are diagnosed with cancer of the throat or mouth every year. 

Oral cancer is believed to be one of the most serious dental illnesses. It often starts as a painless white patch in the mouth that is barely noticeable. This patch widens and develops ulcers as it grows. The majority of oral cancers are linked to heavy tobacco and alcohol use, as well as infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

To prevent oral cancer, besides practicing good oral hygiene and a healthy diet, plan regular visits to the dentist for checkups and oral cancer screening. 

Get these common dental problems treated early

Dental problems can affect your confidence, quality of life, and overall health. Reach out to the best dentist in Palo Alto whenever you notice symptoms of any of the conditions listed above so that treatment can commence as soon as possible. And don’t also forget to honor your bi-annual dental appointments to keep these dental problems at bay.

Article resources:
Information in this article has been gathered from multiple public health sources, including:

Dental Checklist for Your Next Dental Appointment

It is a good idea to be well prepared for your Palo Alto dentist’s appointments. Dental health plays a fundamental role in your overall health. This brief checklist will help you prepare for your upcoming dental appointment. 

Create a list for your upcoming dental visit 

Before your dental appointment, make a list of all your concerns, questions, and issues. This will help ensure that you don’t miss anything during the appointment.  Few things are more annoying than discovering you forgot to discuss important questions or concerns with your general dentist in Palo Alto after you have left their office.  

The list can include questions or issues like:

  • What are your options in fixing a certain dental concern
  • What kind of dental products/supplements you should use at home 
  • Whether something you notice about your gums or teeth is an issue
  • What foods are ideal for your teeth 
  • How to improve your dental anxiety

During your appointment, our dentists at Cambridge Dental Studio will be patient with you and take time to go through all your concerns and provide advice accordingly. 

Verify your appointment. 

At Cambridge Dental Studio, our friendly staff will always contact you via email and text 1 week and 2 days prior to your appointment to confirm and remind you of your appointment. Please ensure you add the appointment to your calendar. 

Make a note of the exact time you should go for the appointment — also, try to arrive 10 minutes prior so that you can fill out the required paperwork.  

What’s more, if this is your first visit or you are unfamiliar with the dental office’s location, you may want to inquire for directions. This will surely go a long way toward minimizing frustration or stress on the appointment day. 

Notify the dentist of any health changes. 

As we mentioned earlier, there is a strong correlation between dental health and general health. Not only can your dental health influence your overall health, but the opposite is also true. 

Let your dentist know if there have been changes in your health or you are under any new medications.  These new circumstances may necessitate a change in your dental care regimen. For instance, certain drugs might cause the mouth to dry up, making the teeth more vulnerable to decay. Furthermore, some diseases, such as diabetes, can have a substantial impact on your dental health. Make sure you furnish the dentist with your detailed medical history and carry a list of your medications to your appointment.

Lastly, consult with your dentist regarding any fears or concerns you have about how your general health and oral health may impact each other.

Gather the necessary documents.

It’s all too easy to forget vital documents when you’re racing to get to your dentist appointment. Gathering the relevant paperwork ahead of time can go a long way toward avoiding this. 

Make sure to bring any appropriate insurance cards and their co-pays. A driver’s license or other state-issued ID is required at our dental office, as well.

Importantly, carry with you any oral devices you’re using to make sure they’re still functioning properly. Regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs are crucial in ensuring these devices are safe and effective at safeguarding your teeth health. These oral devices may include anything from retainers to dentures.   

Follow the dentist’s instructions.

Are you getting ready for a dental procedure? Are there any guidelines your general dentist in Palo Alto gave you beforehand? If that is the case, it is wise to note them down, so they are easier to recall and follow. 

Some dental procedures require that you don’t drink or eat right before the procedure. For others, the dentist may require you to eat prior to the procedure because eating after will be tricky. 

If you are going to be sedated, the dentist may advise that you bring a friend along so that they can drive you home after the appointment. 

Whatever the case may be, the advisable thing to do is listen to the dentist and do your best to follow their instructions.

Brush your teeth prior to the appointment.

Even though the top dentists in Palo Alto have seen it all, it’s rational to brush your teeth before your dental appointment. Having a bad breath or dirty teeth may make you feel uncomfortable and maybe a tad bit embarrassed. Brushing beforehand will make you feel more at ease once the dentist gets to work.  

Remember, everyone appreciates a clean mouth!  

Don’t stress over your next appointment.

When you plan ahead, dental appointments become a breeze. Use the above checklist, and you will be well prepared to see your Palo Alto dentist. 

However, remember that not being prepared for an appointment is no reason to postpone it. Visit your dentist today!