Introduction

10 Common Dental Problems

Jacqueline Ho Apr 29th, 2014 (updated Jun 9th, 2015)
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We’ve all been told from an early age that it’s important to take care of our teeth by flossing and brushing regularly. Even so, we can encounter various dental problems, such as sensitive teeth or bad breath. Here is a list of 10 common dental problems and how to go about treating them.

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Bad breath
Bad breath

About 85 percent of people who have chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, have a dental condition to blame. Cavities, gum disease and oral bacteria are often root causes of bad breath. Be sure to see your dentist regularly, as he or she can treat any conditions you might have. You can also prevent bad breath by avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine and by staying hydrated throughout the day.

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Tooth decay
Tooth decay

After the common cold, tooth decay is the second most prevalent disease in the United States. When plaque builds up and combines with the sugars and starches in the food we eat, tooth decay can occur. The good news is that tooth decay can be prevented by the following: Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, avoiding sugary drinks and snacks and getting regular cleanings.

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Gum disease
Gum disease

There are two major stages of gum disease, or periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss as we age, and it also has been linked to heart attacks and stroke. Prevention is key and getting regular checkups will allow the dentist to identify gum disease in the early stages. Gum disease can also be prevented by brushing twice a day and flossing daily.

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Mouth sores
Mouth sores

Mouth sores can include canker sores, fever blisters, cold sores and ulcers. Over-the-counter topical solutions can also help relieve the pain. Sores are typically caused by infections from bacteria, irritation from rubbing against something or a disease or disorder. They usually disappear within two weeks but should be examined by a dentist if they last longer. 

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Cracked tooth
Cracked tooth

Tiny cracks in the teeth are common and usually do not cause problems. Sometimes, however, a tooth can become cracked and cause pain, in which case a dentist is needed to determine where the pain is coming from and how to resolve the issue. Treatments may involve bonding or possibly a root canal. Teeth can crack as a result of chewing on hard objects, grinding your teeth and uneven chewing temperature.

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Enamel erosion
Enamel erosion

Tooth enamel is the hard outer surface layer of your teeth that helps protect against tooth decay. Even though it is considered the hardest mineral substance in the human body, tooth enamel can become eroded as a result of consuming starches and acids. Once enamel is gone it cannot be replaced, but you can protect it by using fluoride toothpaste and fluoride rinse and by brushing and flossing regularly.

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Tooth sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is often triggered by sweets or hot or cold substances. Possible causes may include tooth decay, worn tooth enamel or fractured teeth. Depending on the cause, dentists can help treat tooth sensitivity with fluoride gel, a crown or a surgical gum graft. You also can use toothpastes designed to help treat sensitive teeth.

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Toothaches
Toothaches

Toothaches can feel like a sharp, throbbing or constant pain in or around a tooth. Other symptoms may include swelling around the tooth or a fever or headache. Causes of toothaches include an abscessed tooth, infected gums and a damaged filling, so see a dentist to identify the problem. 

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Overbite or underbite
Overbite or underbite

Having an overbite or underbite is caused by an improperly developed jaw, or it can be developed through bad habits, such as sucking on your thumb as a child. An overbite or underbite can create speaking or chewing problems and can contribute to gum disease. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the situation, so if you have an overbite or underbite, consult a dentist or orthodontist.

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Teeth grinding
Teeth grinding

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can be caused by stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, allergies or misaligned teeth. Signs may include headaches, jaw soreness, toothaches or fractured teeth. In order to treat teeth grinding, dentists often recommend using a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.