Soupy Sales said, “Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you”. Most people experience at least one dental problem in their life. The tooth is the only part of the body that cannot heal itself. Hence the need for Dentists who diagnose, prevent and treat problems of the oral cavity. They provide advice about taking care of one’s teeth and gums.

Following are some common dental problems:-

• TOOTH DECAY: Tooth decay or dental cavity occurs when bacteria in the plague settles on the teeth. It produces an acid which slowly eats away at the tooth enamel, leaving holes/cavity. The prospect of forming a dental cavity depends on one’s lifestyle. The best possible approach to dealing with plaque is prevention. If a dental cavity is formed, depending on its austerity it can be treated with fillings, root canals or crowns. If there is extensive damage to the extent of nerves being damaged, the tooth will have to be removed. To save the enamel one needs to brush and floss regularly, use fluoride-containing toothpaste, avoid sugary foods and drinks and have a regular dental check-up.

• PERIODONTITIS (Gum Disease): It’s a common bacterial infection normally observed in adults. The bacterium eats away at the gum tissue and the ligaments that hold the teeth in place. There are five established stages of gum disease. So if it’s detected early it can be reversed. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and the symptoms can be treated with good dental care and medications for the infection. Periodontitis is an advanced stage of the gum disease. Symptoms like bleeding, swollen gums, bad breath, and loss of permanent teeth etc. can be found at this stage. Treatments such as Scaling and root planning are available for such cases.

• ENAMEL DEGRADATION: During this, there is noticeable discolorization of the enamel surfaces. One of the prime reasons for this enamel erosion is the fizzy drinks and acidic foods consumed. Eating disorders like bulimia, teeth grinding, low flow of saliva etc. also contribute to this. Enamel erosion is irreversible. Though there are some treatments like Bonding in which resin (tooth-colored material) is applied to stained or damaged teeth. Or if the case is more severe, the dentist may add a veneer or crown to the damaged teeth to prevent further decay. But when it comes to enamel degradation, prevention is better than cure.

• BAD BREATH: Bad breath also known as halitosis is one of the most common and embarrassing problems that people face. Bad breath comes from some of the dental problems such as Cavities, Gum disease, Oral cancer, dry mouth or bacteria on the tongue. So one must get checked by a dentist in order to understand the underlying problem. Some of the measures to control bad breath are Brushing after each meal, scraping one’s tongue daily and gargling with a medicated mouthwash.

• DRY MOUTH: Xerostomia more famously known as Dry Mouth is caused by lack of saliva in the mouth. Dry mouth is usually caused as a side effect of certain medications or as a result of radiation therapy for cancer or due to aging. It’s rarely that dry mouth may be caused by a condition that directly affects the salivary glands. This condition is risky because dry mouth robs the gums and teeth of essential moisture, lubrication, and cleansing. There is no direct cure for this condition sadly. Drinking water from time to time may help with discomfort and parched sensations.

• ORAL CANCER: This certainly is the gravest dental problem. Most oral cancers begin as a small, pale, pinkish lump or growth inside the mouth that is almost always painless. Smokers and excessive alcohol consumers are most at the risk of developing mouth cancer. It’s best to have a routine dental check-up for such people. During the dental checkup, the dentist will check one’s mouth for symptoms like red or white patches, sores that won’t heal and rough, crusty spots. If anything suspicious is found more tests will be ordered. Unfortunately, it has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancer.

For people with poor oral hygiene, it is often difficult to know when something is wrong in their mouth as they get used to having discolored enamel, bad breath, furry tongue and many such problems. But ultimately these are all unhealthy and point at something more serious.

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Hence it’s of utmost importance to see a dentist and get one’s mouth examined so that such concerns are put to rest. Taking care of oral hygiene diligently also can prevent most of the dental problems.