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Take Dental Care Seriously: 4 Preventable Oral Health Problems

You may think that nobody wants to face the consequences of poor oral health care. However, millions of people across the United States deal with the sometimes painful consequences of dental care neglect. The World Health Organization cautions that it’s better to prevent difficult dental issues and diseases than it is to battle them. Consider the following preventable dental issues that can arise when there are lapses in proper dental care. They may inspire you to stick to a healthy dental care regimen and maybe even spend a little more time brushing your teeth or using floss.
  1. Gum Disease
Gum disease is as undesirable as its name suggests. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, but even that can cause swollen, red gums that bleed. If it’s still left untreated, gum disease can worsen and lead to a variety of problems, including tooth loss. In fact, chronic periodontitis can even lead to serious inflammation and bone loss. Some bad habits or chronic conditions that are known to cause gum disease include stress, diabetes, and smoking. But if you don’t take care of your teeth, you will likely have to deal with periodontal disease whether you’re predisposed or not. Since gum disease is largely preventable with proper dental hygiene, patients typically regret that they didn’t start taking better care of their teeth sooner.
  1. Oral Cancer
Though oral cancer isn’t always avoidable, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer by avoiding high-risk behavior and taking care of yourself. Refraining from using tobacco and not drinking excessively can help you avoid developing oral cancer. You should also get regular screenings for oral cancer with your annual dental check-ups. Beyond that, look closely at your mouth once per month to evaluate how healthy it looks. Call your dentist if something changes. Also, talk to your dentist and another healthcare provider about prevention and early detection. Some of the early warning signs or symptoms of oral cancer include a lump in your mouth or on your neck. Signs of oral cancer might also include pain or discomfort when swallowing, speaking and chewing. Swelling of the jaw can also be a symptom. White or red patches or lesions in the mouth might also be a sign of trouble. Chronic numbness in any part of the mouth that doesn’t resolve on its own should be checked out. While oral cancer symptoms may be something else, talk to your dentist when any of the possible symptoms are present. If you do suspect you may have oral cancer and your dentist or doctor notices signs early on, treatment can most effectively be given.
  1. Halitosis
Halitosis is the term for chronic bad breath, and it’s an oral health condition that shouldn’t be ignored. While bad breath may seem like a tiny problem in comparison to major issues like oral cancer, it can nevertheless wreak havoc on someone’s life in a variety of ways. For example, office co-workers, bosses and clients may be repulsed by bad breath. Everyone has bad breath now and then after eating garlic or when just waking up, but halitosis goes deeper than that. If bad breath is chronic over time, it probably can’t be fixed by simply eating mints after meals or using mouthwash in the morning. You need to work with your dentist or other healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and do something about it. Halitosis is often caused by dental problems because gum disease and tooth decay both conditions provide bacteria with more places to hide. Smoking and using tobacco can also be bad for your dental health while causing halitosis. Dry mouth and infections in your nose, ears or throat may also lead to halitosis over time.
  1. Dental Cavities
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cavities are largely preventable. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most common threats to oral health in the United States and many other countries. Establishing a daily dental hygiene routine and sticking to it is a simple way to prevent tooth decay. Although you aren’t guaranteed to never get a cavity with excellent oral health care habits, those habits can prevent a lot of tooth decay. Be sure to brush your teeth two times every single day. Floss or use another interdental cleaner. Swish with mouthwash at least once per day, too. Use a mirror to ensure that all the food particles and plaque are removed from your teeth every day. Finally, be consistent about receiving regular dental cleanings to be proactive about your oral health. It can have a big impact on how healthy your teeth and gums are, which, in turn, has an impact on your overall health. Contact Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates to make regular dental care appointments for you and your family.