According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the three most prevalent oral health problems are cavities, gum disease and oral cancer. While there are ways to treat these issues, the best form of care is prevention. As you continue reading, learn about each condition and discover what you can do to protect yourself.
Also referred to as dental caries, cavities are holes that can develop in the enamel (the hard-outer layer of the teeth). Oral bacteria feed on leftover food and beverage particles, and several types can eventually conjoin to form plaque, releasing acids that cause tooth decay. Items high in sugar are the main contributors to enamel wear.
The good news is that cavities are preventable. It starts with maintaining a healthy diet, which involves eating more natural foods and monitoring your sugar intake.
Dental negligence can eventually lead to gum inflammation (called gingivitis). This is the initial phase of gum disease (periodontitis), where the soft tissue has become irritated. If the necessary dental care changes aren’t made, there can be permanent damage to the bone and ligaments that secure the teeth. Untreated, periodontitis can even result in tooth loss.
Cavities are typically earlier warning signs of poor oral health. By making the right changes to prevent them from reoccurring, you’ll also be protecting your gums.
In many ways, oral health issues can have a domino effect. Just as ignoring the warning signs of cavities can leave you more susceptible to periodontal disease, failing to address gum health issues can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. At this point, the stakes are much higher, as nearly 25% of the new cases each year are fatal. However, with early detection and treatment, the 5-year survival rate is about 61%.
Of course, the best form of treatment for oral cancer is to prevent it from developing. Avoiding the use of tobacco products and maintaining excellent dental care habits play a big role in staying healthy.
The Power of Dental Care
It’s recommended that you visit a dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups. Any stubborn plaque and tartar will be removed to leave you with a healthy mouth. Arguably more important is your dental hygiene routine. You should be brushing and flossing at least two times a day. This will help to control bacteria and plaque growth to fortify your teeth and gums.
These steps are simple, yet effective. By taking a forward and proactive approach to your oral health, you can be better protected and enjoy a beautiful smile for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Rodney L. Allen earned his dental degree from Baylor College of Dentistry. To further expand his knowledge, he has participated in a number of continuing education programs and received advanced training at Spear Education. Dr. Allen helps his patients prevent oral health issues by providing comprehensive care at his private practice, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.