Common Dental Issues And How To Fix Them

Oral Hygiene

Think about all that biting, chewing and talking you do all day long. Your teeth are under quite a bit of strain. It’s no wonder dental issues might occur from time to time.

When you think of dental problems, cavities and gum disease might come to mind. But there are also other common dental issues that can range from embarrassing to interfering with good oral health. Here are a few of the following common dental problems and what you can do about them.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Ask yourself a few questions. Do people always offer you gum? Do people slowly back away as you speak? If you answered yes to any of the above, you might have halitosis.

Don’t worry, halitosis is not deadly. Halitosis is the technical name for bad breath, and it’s a pretty common dental issue.

Whether it was those garlic fries you ate last night or the cup of coffee you just guzzled, everyone gets bad breath from time to time. But bad breath can occur for other reasons. For example, postnasal drip, tooth decay and gum disease can also all cause bad breath.

The good news is if you have stubbornly stinky breath, there are several things you can do to keep your breath fresh. Maintaining good oral hygiene is a must to prevent bad breath. Brush twice a day, use mouthwash and floss daily. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, which has more bacteria on it than you might realize.

But scrubbing your teeth until they gleam is not enough. It’s essential to see your dentist twice a year for regular checkups, professional cleanings and to catch problems early. If you’re concerned about bad breath, don’t hesitate to talk with your dentist, just pop a mint first.

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

We probably all have experienced that feeling as if we had a mouth full of cotton. Whether it’s meeting a blind date or giving a speech at work, you might develop that sticky, dry feeling in your mouth. An occasional dry mouth due to nerves is normal. But if you’re dealing with a dry mouth on a daily basis, it can be more than just a nuisance. A chronically dry mouth can increase your chances of tooth decay.

If you’re wondering what salvia has to do with gum disease, the answer is a lot. After you eat, saliva washes away particles of food left behind. It also contains certain minerals that help protect the teeth. When saliva is lacking due to chronic dry mouth, your risk of developing plaque and gum disease increases.

Dry mouth can occur as a side effect of taking some medications. It can also be a symptom of certain medical conditions, such as Sjögren’s syndrome. Fortunately, dry mouth can be treated. Treatment for dry mouth starts with a visit to your dentist. Your dentist may prescribe a treatment to help you produce more saliva or suggest antibacterial mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings to prevent gum disease.

Sensitive Teeth

Who doesn’t love an ice cream cone on a hot summer day or a cup of hot chocolate on a snowy night? But both can make you wince if you suffer from tooth sensitivity. Hot and cold food and drinks can lead to pain for people who have sensitive teeth.

It might not only be hot or cold foods and drinks that cause pain for people with sensitive teeth. Sweet foods and even breathing in cold air can cause pain in some cases. Teeth sensitivity often gets worse over time.

What happens is your teeth might develop tiny cracks, or your gums can recede, which exposes the nerve root. Your tooth enamel can also become worn down over time. Certain medical conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, can lead to an erosion of the tooth enamel. Drinking and eating highly acidic foods and beverages can also speed up how fast your tooth enamel wears away.

The first step to treating sensitive teeth is a trip to your dentist, who can recommend toothpaste options that have low levels of abrasives. Your dentist may also recommend treatments including fluoride varnishes and fluoride rinses or gels, which are formulated to decrease teeth sensitivity.

In addition, be sure to give your teeth a little TLC. Vigorous brushing or using a hard toothbrush, won’t help your teeth and may even damage the enamel.  Use a soft bristle toothbrush and clean your teeth without brushing too aggressively.

Teeth Grinding

It might sound like a freight train roaring through the night. But wait a minute; it’s just you grinding your teeth in your sleep. Although some people unconsciously clench their jaw while they are awake, most clenching and teeth grinding happens while you are sleeping.

If you grind your teeth, you might not know about it until your spouse tells you. In fact, teeth grinding may bother your partner more than it does you. But teeth grinding or clenching can have several negative effects.

Teeth grinding can cause more than those not-so-gentle nudges from your partner during the night. Jaw pain, morning headaches and loose or worn down teeth can all develop due to teeth grinding.

So what’s up with all that clenching and grinding your teeth while you sleep? Researchers are not exactly sure why some people grind their teeth, but stress may be a cause. Misaligned teeth may also cause teeth grinding in some cases.

But you don’t have to just live with teeth grinding. Finding ways to relax and unwind, such as listening to music, practicing yoga or doing deep breathing exercises may help you relax before bed.  Often times an occlusal bruxism guard is recommended.  This appliance is used to equilibrate your bite which can help relax your muscles. Also, talk to your dentist about restorative or orthodontic dentistry to fix misaligned teeth that may be contributing to teeth grinding.

At Carothers Family Dental, we’ve seen all of these problems and more, so if you are struggling with any of these common dental problems, give us a call at (512) 396-4288, we’d be more than happy to help!