The 4 Biggest Threats to Your Dental Health

The 4 Biggest Threats to Your Dental Health

 

What is standing in your way of a beautiful, strong, healthy smile? It could be a number of factors, from smoking and discoloration to cavities and misalignment. 

Some dental problems are only cosmetic nuisances, while others pose significant threats to your dental health. Learn more about the four biggest threats to your mouth and how you can safeguard your smile for the future. 

 

Plaque

It’s not just your imagination: the word plaque does look nearly identical to the word plague. If something plagues you, it causes continual distress and trouble… and that’s exactly what plaque does to your oral health. Until it’s brushed and flossed away, plaque builds up on your teeth to develop tooth decay and gum disease. 

Plaque is a sticky film that covers every nook and cranny of your teeth, including areas below the gum line. Technically speaking, it’s a microbial biofilm that contains a range of bacteria strong enough to continue thriving in the dark crevices of the mouth. 

Any foods or drinks containing carbohydrates can trigger the formation of plaque, especially those with high sugar content like soda and candy. As you chew, carbohydrates combine with the natural bacteria in your mouth to create plaque. 

Plaque’s acidic base slowly but surely eats away at your tooth enamel and destroys the healthy structure of your teeth. This is why cavities are considered the first warning sign of plaque damage. One isolated cavity might seem innocent enough, but uncontrolled plaque causes more serious problems like gum disease. 

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring these symptoms! Schedule a dentist appointment to remove plaque and keep your teeth sparkling clean. 

 

Bruxism

Millions of Americans suffer from the condition of nighttime teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. If you’re among the 8% of adults with this sleep disorder, you may not even know it. 

In fact, you may be coping with side effects like tooth sensitivity, headaches, and jaw pain without understanding the root cause at all. Here’s what you need to know about this dangerous habit and how you can stop it. 

Nighttime tooth grinding is tricky to identify because it occurs when you’re completely unaware of the behavior. Since chronic clenching and grinding place so much pressure on the muscles, tissues, teeth, and other structures around the jaw, symptoms can be felt long after the grinding stops and the sun rises. 

A few of the most common bruxism symptoms include the following:

  • Jaw pain and stiffness
  • Sore gums
  • Sensitive or broken teeth
  • Clicking jaw joints
  • Chronic dull headaches
  • Earaches
  • Flat, short, or blunt teeth surfaces

Left untreated, nighttime tooth grinding can wear down your teeth and leave you in chronic pain. If you have been experiencing frequent jaw discomfort, daytime fatigue, or dull headaches, ask your dentist to examine your mouth for signs of bruxism.

Your dentist will use a clinical examination to identify the extent of your bruxism and suggest potential causes. Whether you need to realign your bite, treat any underlying health conditions, or use a mouth guard, your dentist is the best person to guide you through the treatment process.

 

Misalignment

Most people want to straighten their teeth for the aesthetic benefits, but there are many important dental health benefits to fixing crooked teeth. 

Common misalignment issues like crowding, spacing, and poor bite make it difficult to remove plaque from certain areas. If that plaque isn’t properly brushed and flossed away, it has the chance to spread and trigger gum inflammation and tooth decay. This eventually turns into gingivitis, the early stages of gum disease.

In other words, crooked teeth put your smile at a higher risk of disease and decay. 

 

Gum Disease

There are many different reasons that the dangerous bacteria in your mouth might gain too much power: smoking, poor brushing, and a high-sugar diet are just a few common causes. Eventually, bacteria, sugars, and acids blend to create plaque and tartar that brushing alone can’t remove. 

Subtle side effects like tender gums quickly develop into the two stages of gum disease known as gingivitis and periodontitisAdmitting these threats to your dental health may be scary, but ignoring the signs and suffering the future complications is bound to be even scarier.

If you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to ask your dentist for help treating gum disease:

  • Bad breath that doesn’t fade even after brushing or drinking water
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain when chewing food
  • Loose or wiggling teeth 
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gums 
  • Unexpected tooth loss
  • Multiple cavities and infections

Unfortunately, the damage caused by gum disease isn’t limited to your mouth. It also has serious implications on the rest of your body as well. 

Researchers have been studying the link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease for decades. Statistics indicate that people with gum disease are two to three times more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular problems.

 

Stop The Threats to Your Dental Health Now

You don’t need to accept these threats to your dental health as a fact of life. By contacting your dentist, keeping your appointments every six months, and receiving any treatments or procedures your dentist suggests, you can restore health and balance to your smile.  Contact DeAngelis Family Dentistry today to schedule your appointment and put yourself on the path to better oral health.