Diseases of Teeth and Gums & How to Prevent Them

Many diseases can affect your teeth and gums. Some of the most common diseases of teeth and gums include dental caries, gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis), and oral herpes. The diseases vary in severity but all need to be treated by a dentist. If oral diseases are left untreated, they can lead to serious health problems. In this blog post,

Our mouth contains different types of bacteria. With Poor oral hygiene, harmful bacteria begin to grow, causing diseases of teeth and gums. In this article, we will discuss each one of these diseases, and how to prevent them.

The Most Common Diseases of Teeth and Gums

Oral diseases are a significant problem among people of all ages. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), It is estimated that oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, is a bacterial infection that causes damage to the tooth. Harmful bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and starches that are not “chewed” or brushed off, and produce acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel, causing the formation of dental caries and cavities. Tooth decay can be prevented through oral hygiene basics such as brushing your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily.

Tooth decay can lead to tooth loss, which may also reduce chewing abilities and cause difficulty eating. Tooth decay in permanent teeth is one of the most common diseases of teeth and gums. Also, it affects more than 530 million children (primary teeth).

Common diseases of teeth and gums
Tooth decay and gum disease are the most common diseases of teeth and gums.

Gum disease

Gum disease is a bacterial gum infection that affects the gum tissues and tooth-supporting tissues. It can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Gum disease is one of the most common diseases of teeth and gums, which usually occurs due to poor oral hygiene. stages of gum disease include :

  • Gingivitis: it is the start of gum disease in which the gums are inflamed and may bleed easily.
  • Periodontitis: it is the advanced form of gum disease, which affects the soft tissues and bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause gum recession, gum abscess, periodontal pockets, and tooth loss.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10% of the global population is affected by periodontitis.

“Gum disease affects nearly half of adults age 30 and over.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is an accumulation of pus that forms when a tooth becomes infected or inflamed. This can lead to a painful toothache and swelling of the gums. The dental abscess usually occurs due to the spread of bacterial infection from other teeth and gums diseases such as dental caries, gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis).

A dental abscess occurs when the bacterial infection spreads from dental caries or gum disease to the tooth pulp, causing pain, swelling of the gums, and/or pus in the mouth. Dental abscesses should be treated as soon as possible because they can cause serious health problems, including sepsis, anemia, or bone loss if left untreated.

Oral Herpes

Oral herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is mostly transmitted through kissing or the sharing of food and drinks. Oral herpes can cause painful sores on lips, gums, Tongue, and inside your cheeks. The symptoms usually heal in two to four weeks, but they can also last for months before healing.

Oral herpes can be serious for people with weakened immune systems. Oral herpes is usually treated by applying topical antiviral medications and sometimes antibiotics. Oral Herpes cannot be cured but the symptoms are relieved.

“50-80 percent of adults live with oral herpes in a dormant or an active stage.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush, also called oral candidiasis, is a yeast infection that causes white patches on the gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, or tonsils. The infection can also cause oral ulcers, which are painful lesions on the gums. Oral thrush spreads through saliva and is caused by a yeast called Candida albicans. People with HIV, diabetes, or diseases that weaken the immune system are at more risk for oral thrush.

Oral thrush can be caused by antibiotics or an overgrowth of the candida fungus. The condition can also occur during pregnancy when hormone levels are changing as well as diseases like HIV/AIDS.

How to Prevent Diseases of Teeth and Gums?

Good oral hygiene can help keep your mouth healthy and prevent diseases of teeth and gums. Oral diseases are not just about the mouth. They can also affect other parts of your body, such as your heart and lungs. For example, people with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular diseases. Also, diseases of teeth and gums can increase the risk of cancer.

To Prevent Diseases of Teeth and Gums, You Should

  • Maintain good oral hygiene: brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. Also, use a mouthwash. Replace your toothbrush every three months and change your toothbrush every month if you have a sore throat.
  • Eat a diet that promotes good oral health: eating acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, lemons, and pickles are more likely to cause cavities. So, avoid them. Eat foods high in calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin C to help strengthen teeth and gums like dairy products, broccoli, spinach, and oranges. Rinse with water after eating sugary food or drink. Read more about does smoking cause tooth decay & gum disease?.
  • Limit sweets and avoid sugary drinks: diseases of teeth and gums can also be caused by eating too many sweet foods or drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas, juices, sports drinks
  • Avoid smoking and tobacco use: smoking weakens your immune system and makes it harder to fight diseases of teeth and gums. Also, smoking can cause a dry mouth condition, which contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. Avoid tobacco products.
  • Prevent the transmitting of oral herpes: by avoiding kissing and sharing food, utensils, or drinks.
  • Get regular dental check-ups: brushing your teeth twice a day will not prevent diseases of the mouth if you neglect to see your dentist regularly. Visit your dentist every six months for a check-up, or more often if you have risk factors for oral diseases.
  • Get fluoride treatments: regular use of fluoride products can strengthen teeth and help prevent dental caries and gum disease.

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