While dental health issues such as sensitive teeth and tooth decay may seem inconsequential, they ultimately can get worse over time, in the process creating other detrimental health issues. Oral health is so important because it is not only relevant to the well-being of your teeth, but is linked to the health of your entire body.
Tooth decay, otherwise known as caries, is a preventable dental disease. This type of damage occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acid, which ultimately eats away at your enamel. Your teeth and gums are constantly exposed to large amounts of sugars and starches from the food and drinks you consume. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, and soft drinks leave deposits on your teeth.
Your teeth naturally contract and expand when exposed to changing temperatures. Over time, tooth enamel can wear down, teeth can develop microscopic cracks, and your gum line can recede, causing exposure to the interior part of the tooth. Hot and cold food and beverages can be painful to consume for people who experience these types of damages to their teeth.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an ongoing bacterial infection of the gum line and the bone around your teeth. The initial stage of this infection begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. This early stage of the disease is known as gingivitis, causes the gums to bleed and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
When food particles are left in your mouth and deteriorate, a buildup of plaque and bacteria can occur. This buildup of bacteria can cause bad breath. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem.
Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border.
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