Dental care is not one of the more common health topics, so it’s often one that people tend to overlook until they have painful dental issues.
Oral diseases are the most common non-communicable diseases, according to the World Health Organization. It affects half of the world’s population, and gum disease is said to be the 11th most prevalent disease globally.
Dental issues are just as common as some other health issues and dental health is just as important as your diet—it’s a part of complete wellness. In that light, here are some common dental issues people face and how to treat them.
Dental cavities occur as a result of the action of bacteria, food and acids—obtained from the conversion of sugars in food and drinks—that form a plaque on the hard outer layer of your teeth. This plaque eats away at your teeth over time until it causes permanent damage, usually in the form of a hole; this hole is called a cavity. Cavity-causing tooth decay can penetrate past your enamel to the dentine and can damage the nerves and blood vessels underneath.
Cavities can be treated by using fillings and crowns. If the decay reaches the root of the tooth, then a root canal is necessary. A root canal involves taking out infected pulp (the pulp is a layer of tissue beneath the dentine that contains nerves and blood vessels) and replacing it with a filling.
Gingivitis or gum swelling is the inflammation of the gums due to the action of bacteria from plaque. Plaque doesn’t only cause cavities, it also affects the gum around the teeth. The inflamed gums turn a blood-red color and bleed during brushing. Gingivitis is not a major dental issue and can easily be reversed by regular proper dental hygiene. However, if not addressed, gingivitis could worsen and lead to the next dental problem on our list.
When gingivitis is allowed to worsen it becomes periodontitis (gum disease). The body sends toxins to fight the bacteria acting on the gums and the result is an inflammation that if left to fester could lead to an infection of the gums and supporting bone. Chronic inflammation leads to a recession of the gum and a noticeable ‘lengthening’ of the teeth—this increase in length is a result of the receding gum. This creates a pocket between the gum and the tooth where bacteria can further multiply and act.
Periodontitis can be avoided by proper oral hygiene i.e. brushing twice a day, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash periodically. However, when periodontitis sets in, periodontal surgery may be required.
Oral cancer includes cancer of the lips, tongue, gums, throat, palates, etc. It is characterized by the feeling of numbness, swelling, thickness, bleeding, difficulty chewing and speaking, chronic sore throat, and a number of other symptoms. Oral cancer is treated by surgically removing the cancerous growth. Oral cancer can be prevented by maintaining proper dental hygiene, avoiding tobacco, going for regular checkups, etc.
There are a number of other dental issues but these are the most common. If you suspect that you have any dental issues do not self-diagnose, instead, you should visit a qualified dentist. If you live in New York, Bronx dentists like Glad Dental are always available to help with any dental issues you may have.
Oral Health and Mental Health
Dental and mental health are closely related, according to dentalhealth.org. People who suffer from mental issues are less likely to take care of their teeth. People suffering from anxiety, eating disorders, OCD, depression, etc usually experience oral health problems. The goal of oral health is to achieve total wellness, and this cannot be achieved without the mental component.
So, as you improve your oral health, also remember to improve your mental health by visiting a therapist if need be. If you do not know how to get in touch with one, services like With Therapy specialize in matching patients to therapists based on their individual needs.