Most Common Oral Health Problems

We all go through a rough patch when it comes to oral health. No matter how hard we try to take care of our teeth and gums, there will come a time when certain problems begin to surface without warning. So aside from learning how to take care of your mouth, you likewise have to understand the most common oral health problems to know how to avoid them.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is mostly associated to gingivitis, but it actually is just the first stage. When you have gingivitis, you need to act on it fast because that’s the only time you can have it reversed. Once you ignore it and you leave it untreated, gingivitis becomes a more serious type of periodontal disease, which is referred to as periodontitis.

The thing with gum disease is that it usually does not come with any warning signs. So if you don’t visit the dentist and have regular dental checkups, there is no way for you to figure out that you actually have it up until the time that it is already too late.

The treatment used to address gum disease may vary based on the severity of the problem, type of disease, and other factors. But you can always opt for prevention than treatment by practicing good oral hygiene that includes brushing your teeth at least twice each day, cleaning the areas between the teeth on a daily basis, regular dentist visits, and eating a healthy diet.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is another common oral health problem that needs to be addressed the soonest possible time. Once you realize and feel that your mouth is dry, you need to go and see a doctor to have it treated.

This condition may be a result of taking medications or if you’re suffering from particular health conditions. Once you go to the dentist, he will be examining your teeth to see if there are signs of decay, which in turn can lead to impeding the normal flow of saliva in your mouth. Although it is not as serious as gum disease, you will need to resolve it because without enough saliva in your mouth, the buildup of tooth decay is accelerated and without saliva, you also are likely going to develop bad breath.

Missing Teeth

(photo credit: GreenHeadDental.co.uk)

This right here is something most of us just ignore simply because there’s nothing inconvenient about missing a tooth or two. But just like any other oral health problems we discussed, you have to consider it as a serious problem.

Here’s a more thorough discussion on the causes of missing teeth in children from DentalSource.org:

Missing teeth are one of the most common developmental problems in children. Nearly 20% of the U.S. population has congenitally missing third molars, 3.4% has missing second premolars, and 2.5% has missing upper lateral incisors. The adult teeth are more frequently affected than the baby teeth. Absence of baby teeth occurs in 0.5% to 0.9% of the population. As a rule, when a baby tooth is missing, its permanent counterpart will also be absent.

Missing teeth (tooth agenesis) can occur in an isolated fashion, or as part of a syndrome. Isolated cases of missing teeth can be familial or sporadic in nature. Familial tooth agenesis is transmitted as an autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X-linked genetic condition. In addition, there are more than 49 syndromes which are associated with tooth agenesis.

Specific terms are used to describe the nature of tooth agenesis. Oligodontia is the lack of tooth development of 6 or more permanent teeth, without an associated systemic disorder. Hypodontia is the absence of 6 or less teeth, but is usually part of a more complex set of developmental problems. Most cases of tooth agenesis involve hypodontia.

Researchers have recently discovered a number of genes and gene products which control communication between and within the cells that are necessary for tooth formation. These gene products are chemicals (proteins) which either affect the DNA on the chromosomes, or function as extracellular messengers. Examples of DNA control genes are MSX-1 and MSX-2. Examples of extracellular signals are bone morphogenetic proteins and fibroblast growth factors.

Genes are the molecular code of life. The 46 human chromosomes contain approximately 100,000 genes. Three billion information bases make up these 100,000 genes. Genetic mistakes may occur due to “misspellings” in the genetic code. These genetic mistakes may then be passed on from generation to generation as mendelian inheritance traits. Familial tooth agenesis can be transmitted as an autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X-linked condition.

Mistakes (mutations) in the genes which help produce teeth can cause missing teeth. Recent studies have found that mutations in two regulatory genes, MSX-1 and PAX9, cause tooth agenesis. The mutations causing tooth agenesis fall into one of three categories: point mutations, frame shift mutations, or large DNA deletions.

Source: http://dentalresource.org/topics13.htm

As for adults like you, there are several options available in order to replace your missing teeth. Of course, you will have to go to the dentist to seek advice as to what sort of solution is best for your needs. The list of options includes dentures, bridges, and implants.

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Most Common Oral Health Problems

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