With proper care and regular monitoring by your dentist, you dramatically increase your odds of enjoying excellent oral health for a lifetime. However, sometimes issues can occur between check-ups. For this reason, it’s a good idea to be aware of some of the most common issues that occur and what to look for, since you may need to visit your dentist earlier than originally planned. And at the very least, now you’ll know why it’s so important to keep up with regular dental visits.
Also known as dental caries, cavities occur when the protective enamel covering your teeth is breached. They can occur at any age, although are most common in the very young and very old. Additionally, they are more likely to occur in those who eat too much food that tends to stick to teeth (ex. dried fruit, hard candy), snack frequently on sugary foods or drinks, fail to brush and floss their teeth properly, don’t get enough fluoride, and/or those who suffer from dry mouth or heartburn. Prevention is best, but if detected early enough, they can be repaired and the affected tooth can be saved.
Oral cancers are uncommon in kids and young adults, and risk increases with age. Additionally, there’s a higher risk for those who use tobacco (ex. smoking or chewing it), are heavy users of alcohol, have HPV (human papillomavirus), were exposed to excessive sun on the lips, or have a weak immune system. Symptoms may include lumps, swelling, or thick patches in the oral cavity; mouth sores; discoloured lesions in the mouth or on the on the lips; mouth pain, numbness, or tenderness; trouble chewing or swallowing food; difficulty with speaking; and/or lasting pain in the throat. Early detection is extremely important to maximize the chances of successful treatment.
If your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, you may have periodontal disease (an infection of your gums or structures around your teeth that can lead to damage or tooth loss). Preventative measures are very effective, however, and involve thorough brushing and flossing each day, along with regular professional tooth cleanings at your dentist’s office.
Some people are at higher risk compared to the average person though: people who smoke or use tobacco, those who have braces or other hardware in their mouth that makes it tricky to do a good job of cleaning their teeth, people with crowded or misaligned teeth, women undergoing hormone changes (ex. ones that occur during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause), people taking certain medications, people with inflammatory conditions, and anyone who suffers from inadequate nutrition.
Dental injuries can affect individuals of any age and tend to be more common in those who participate in contact sports. They can also occur when one bites down on a hard food, is in a motor vehicle accident, or has a bad fall. A blow to the mouth can lead to obvious injuries such as chipped or cracked teeth, tooth loss, or cuts to the lips and other oral tissues. However, sometimes an injury isn’t immediately obvious and can only be found via a dental exam. Prompt treatment is important since many types of injuries have a better prognosis if they’re treated sooner rather than later.
Your regular dental checkups can prevent oral health issues
By seeing your dentist regularly — no matter what age you are — you maximize your odds of detecting potentially serious conditions while they’re still easily treatable. And if you suffer a serious blow to your mouth, it’s always a good idea to have your dentist take a look in case there’s an invisible injury lurking which, if left untreated, could cause you more trouble in future.
If you’re in Oakville, Burlington, Milton or local area and are looking for a new dentist, contact us at Reflections Dental today!