Your teeth are incredibly important to you. As well as enabling you to eat and chew food, they are intrinsic structural elements to your mouth, helping you to speak clearly. As well as this, there is perhaps nothing more attractive than a sparkling smile.

Experiencing dental issues can be hugely painful and problematic, affecting basic tasks such as eating and speaking comfortably, and could eventually lead to a drop in self-confidence. To prevent this, it is important that you keep on top of your dental care and be vigilant of any changes. Here are four common dental issues you should watch out for.

  1. Tooth decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental issues you could experience. Tooth decay occurs when dental plaque turns sugars into acids, damaging the tooth. If plaque is left to build up, it can cause problems such as dental caries and gum disease. Symptoms of tooth decay include bad breath, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, and gray, brown, or black spots appearing on your teeth. Although you might not experience pain with tooth decay itself, you might have toothache if dental caries has developed, and you may also experience tooth sensitivity when eating something hot, cold, or sweet.

Tooth decay can be incredibly destructive if left unchecked – but it is also easily preventable. The simplest way to avoid tooth decay is to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and floss at least once a day, to remove all lingering plaque and food residue from your teeth. It would be best if you brush using fluoride toothpaste, as fluoride helps to protect the teeth by strengthening the enamel, making your teeth more resistant to the acids caused by plaque that result in tooth decay.

You should also consider reducing the frequency with which you consume sugary and starchy foods and swill your mouth out with mouthwash or drink water after eating to wash away harmful sugars from your teeth. In addition to developing a good oral hygiene routine, you should also visit your dentist regularly. The dental professionals at Best Dental will spot tooth decay in its early stages and be able to advise you on how to reverse early-stage tooth decay or fill in caries before they become worse and harm the integrity of adjoining teeth.

  1. Gum disease

Gum disease is another hugely common dental issue that involves the gums becoming swollen, sore, or infected. Like tooth decay, it is caused by the build-up of plaque irritating the gums and teeth.

Gum disease occurs in several stages: early-stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, can cause bad breath and bleeding gums when you brush your teeth. If left untreated, this can develop into periodontitis. This is a painful condition that affects the integrity of the gum tissue that supports teeth and hold them in place in your mouth. In extreme cases, periodontitis can cause your jaw bone to become damaged and small spaces to open up between your gum and teeth, resulting in your teeth becoming loose and falling out.

As with tooth decay, gum disease can be easily prevented by establishing a good oral hygiene routine. When brushing your teeth, make sure that your brush lightly overlaps the gum line to ensure that plaque between the tooth and the gum is removed. However, make sure that you brush using gentle pressure and a circular motion to avoid overbrushing, which can lead to gum recession.

To prevent this, you might want to consider investing in an electric toothbrush, which regulates and controls the brushing pressure and motion. Frequent visits to your dentist will ensure that any gum disease is identified and treated before it can become more serious. As part of your appointment, your dentist will also remove any hardened plaque (known as tartar) from your teeth that cannot be removed through brushing or flossing alone. This thorough clean makes a visit to your dentist doubly important for maintaining top oral hygiene.

  1. Dental abscess

A dental abscess is a painful condition that can form in the teeth, gums, or bone that keeps the teeth in place. They are caused by a bacterial infection and can occasionally spread to other parts of the body. If you have a dental abscess, you might experience symptoms like intense pain, sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink, red and swollen gums, or a swollen face. If the infection from the abscess spreads throughout your body, you might develop a high temperature and feel unwell.

As abscesses do not go away on their own, you should always visit your dentist as soon as possible if you suspect you have one. They will treat the abscess by carrying out root canal treatment, which drains and removes the abscess from the root before filling and sealing the tooth. On the occasion where root canal treatment is not possible – for instance, the damage to the tooth is too severe, or the tooth is difficult to access for treatment – the affected tooth may instead be extracted.

  1. Bad breath

Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is a common dental issue that you can resolve yourself. Although poor dental hygiene and its resultant problems are considerable contributors to bad breath, it can be caused by other things as well. For instance, consuming spicy or strong-smelling food and drink, smoking, going on a crash diet, and medical conditions like tonsilitis can all affect the bacteria in your mouth and cause bad breath.

The best way of preventing bad breath is to practice good oral hygiene. When brushing your teeth, take some time to gently brush your tongue as well. This will remove lingering food residue and bacteria from the surface of your tongue. If you find your toothbrush too abrasive on your tongue, you could try using a tongue scraper. Additionally, don’t forget the power of a sugar-free mint or chewing gum to cleanse the breath after enjoying strong-smelling food and drink.