Every year, the world spends about $298 billion for treating dental diseases alone. It was even higher in 2010, wherein experts projected the costs to have reached $442 billion!
What’s more, common dental problems affect not only the mouth but many other parts of the body, too.
For example, a recent study found a link between mouth bacteria and atherosclerosis. The researchers discovered the bacteria in the fatty deposits of atherosclerosis patients.
That should be enough reason to pay more attention to your pearly whites, gums, and tongue. After all, many oral health maladies are preventable with proper dental hygiene.
To that end, we created this guide on some of the most prevalent dental problems worldwide. Read on to discover what they are and what you can do to prevent or treat them.
Too Much Plaque
The mouth is home to a diverse oral microbiome made up of about 700 species of bacteria. Many of these are good bacteria, as some help your mouth make saliva. Other beneficial bacteria help control the bad ones, such as those that emit foul odors.
However, many of the other bacteria in the mouth are a crucial component of dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky, translucent biofilm that forms on the teeth and under the gum line. It occurs every time the bacteria comes into contact with sugar and starch.
Plaque is the root cause of many oral health woes, including tartar, tooth decay, and gum disease. It also contributes to weakened tooth problems that can lead to cracks or chips.
While you can’t really stop plaque from forming, you can prevent it from accumulating. Otherwise, it can become noticeable on undisturbed areas of the teeth in just 12 to 24 hours. That’s why oral health experts always tell everyone to brush and floss after every meal.
The longer you let plaque sit on your teeth, the thicker it will get. From there, it will harden into tartar, also known as dental calculus. Brushing or flossing alone can no longer remove hardened plaque.
Dental scaling done by a licensed dentist is the only safe way to get rid of tartar. It’s a teeth cleaning method that involves the use of a special hooked instrument called a scaler. It lets dentists remove plaque and tartar from exposed and hidden teeth surfaces.
It’s important to get rid of tartar because, like plaque, it can also contribute to tooth decay. It can form below the gum line, too, so the bacteria it contains can eat away at the supporting structure of the teeth. Moreover, it can irritate your gums, make them bleed, or even trigger gum disease.
Worldwide, about 2.3 billion people have dental cavities affecting their permanent teeth. An estimated 530 million kids around the world also have tooth decay on one or more of their primary teeth.
Plaque and tartar are the top causes of cavities, but having bruxism can also raise your risks.
Bruxism is a condition characterized by excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. It’s widespread, affecting about a third of the population.
Bruxism can increase your risks of tooth decay as all that grinding can wear away the tooth enamel. The enamel is the hard, outermost layer of the teeth that protect the more sensitive nerves and pulp. The thinner the enamel gets, the faster the bacteria in the mouth can break it down and cause caries.
Fortunately, bruxism is manageable with the use of oral devices like night guards. These act like a protective cushion for your teeth in case of involuntary grinding. Your dentist can either make one for you or recommend which one you should buy.
According to researchers, gum disease affects 20% to 50% of the world’s population. That makes it one of the most common dental problems worldwide. It’s also a leading culprit behind irreversible tooth loss.
Fortunately, gum disease is treatable, even reversible if caught and treated early.
Some of the earliest gum disease signs are redness, some swelling, or minor bleeding. The irritated gum tissues may also feel tender, sore, or have stinging or stabbing pains. Schedule a trip to the dentist as soon as you can, and in the meantime, you can gargle with some warm water mixed with salt.
If you have severe pain and bleeding in the gums, though, it’s best to find a dentist right away. The same goes for if the painful area has become swollen that it shows up on your face. You may have a serious infection that warrants emergency dental treatment.
Halitosis, also known as bad breath, affects 22% to 50% of the global population. In most cases, bacteria that thrive on the tongue are the culprits behind bad breath. Brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper can help reduce the bacteria in it.
Do note that smoking and alcohol intake can also cause or worsen bad breath. Consider cutting back or quitting altogether.
In the US alone, an estimated 40 million adults experience tooth sensitivity. It causes sharp, stabbing pains that are usually quick to come and go. Sweet, sour, salty, hot, and cold food and drinks often trigger these sensations.
Cavities, gum disease, and worn teeth enamel can all contribute to sensitive teeth. So, if you have any of these dental woes, you’re at a higher risk of tooth sensitivity. See a dentist as soon as possible to address these root causes and say goodbye to those stabbing pains.
Protect Yourself From These Common Dental Problems
As you can see, most common dental problems are usually preventable. Keeping them at bay starts with proper oral hygiene, especially brushing and flossing.
Don’t forget to say hi to your dentist every six months, too. This way, you can have your teeth and gums checked and cleaned thoroughly.
Interested in more tidbits of wisdom to help you live healthier and happier? Then please feel free to check out our other informative news and blog posts!