Nobody wants to deal with dental problems, but even those who follow a diligent oral health routine of brushing and flossing and regular check-ups can find themselves with tooth troubles, and that’s no fun!
While many dental problems can be treated at home, others may turn out to be red flags that something more serious is going on, and that’s when a visit to the dentist is in order.
So, how do you know if you can treat your suffering smile yourself versus when to seek help? Here is a look at some common dental problems, their causes, and the best ways to deal with them.
5 Common Dental Problems and Their Solutions
01. Bad Breath
Sure, this is often due to eating a salad with too many onions or being a little too heavy-handed with the garlic, but when you experience bad breath on a regular basis, it can not only be embarrassing but also a sign you’ve got bigger problems brewing. Medically known as halitosis, bad breath can occur for many reasons, besides what you had for lunch!
Rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash, chewing gum (sugar-free of course!), or popping a mint in your mouth are all temporary fixes, but if bad breath persists, determining the underlying cause is important to establish a long-term solution and avoid other, more serious issues.
There’s no getting around it. When bacteria in your mouth mix with sugar and starch from foods and drinks you consume, a sticky film, called plaque, can build up on your teeth. It’s true we can’t prevent plaque from happening, but we can prevent what can happen next.
If left unaddressed, plaque produces harmful acids and turns into tartar which can destroy tooth enamel, cause cavities, and even result in gum disease. The best way to prevent plaque from snowballing into more dental problems is…ding, ding, ding: brushing your teeth!
03. Tooth Discoloration
There are many reasons why teeth become discolored: aging, medication, genetics, smoking, and drinking coffee, just to name a few. Obviously, you can’t help getting old, nor can you pick your parents, but you can try to avoid or cut back on foods and drinks with tooth-staining tendencies, refrain from smoking, and invest in over-the-counter whitening products.
If these efforts, along with a good oral health routine, do not seem to be returning your teeth to their pearly white days of glory, it’s time to talk with your dentist to see if the stains are actually signs of an underlying issue needing treatment.
04. Bleeding Gums
While brushing your teeth is necessary for a healthy smile, sometimes you can put a little too much oomph into it and irritate your gums. Flossing too aggressively can also contribute, so it makes sense that one way to deal with this dental problem is to simply put a little less muscle into your dental regimen.
Bleeding gums can also occur due to plaque building up along the gum line and causing inflammation and tenderness, so be extra sure to (gently!) brush this area, too.
You can also try increasing your intake of vitamins C (to fight infections) and K (to strengthen blood clotting abilities) by eating foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and kale.
Like other dental problems, though, bleeding gums can also indicate a larger issue at hand, so if bleeding continues, visit a dentist to determine the source and devise a treatment plan.
05. Tooth Sensitivity
If you’ve found yourself avoiding hot or cold foods, or your smile has quickly turned into a frown after being hit with a blast of cold air, you know that tooth sensitivity is not a good time! Teeth can get sensitive due to a number of factors, such as that overzealous brushing we mentioned above, or indulging in too many acidic foods and drinks. Grinding or clenching your teeth can also be a culprit, as can harsh whitening products.
Ah, but if this dental problem sticks around or happens more often than not, the root of the problem may actually be that — the roots of your teeth! A damaged tooth or filling could be exposing the nerves below and that needs to be fixed pronto. Gum issues can also cause tooth sensitivity, another situation needing quick attention.
Try using a soft-bristled toothbrush more gently, popping in a bite guard at night, taking a break from your whitening attempts, and opting for less acidic snacks, like cheese or yogurt. If these don’t seem to do the trick, it’s time to talk with your dentist. Knowing what’s behind your tooth sensitivity will help you to treat and be rid of it.
Preventing Dental Problems
While it’s not uncommon to have occasional dental problems, taking preventative measures can help to minimize your risk. Practice good oral hygiene, eat healthy, limit sugary foods and drinks as well as alcohol, and don’t smoke.
Keep your toothbrush clean and use it to gently brush your teeth and your tongue following your meals. Floss daily and pay your dentist a visit on a regular basis so you can keep teeth healthy and identify and address any underlying conditions or diseases. If you have dental appliances, make sure to keep those clean as well.
You can try the at-home remedies above but keep a careful eye…if dental problems persist, be sure to reach out to your dentist.
When to Talk with Your Dentist About Dental Problems
Don’t dismiss dental problems that linger. If you are experiencing these or any other dental problems that are causing you concern, and your attempts at self-treatments are not successful, call Dr. Mogren. We will answer your dental health questions, help determine what’s causing your dental issues, and provide a treatment plan that is right for you. Even the smallest of dental problems can turn into bigger ones. Don’t let that happen to you! Schedule your appointment today.