Dental health issues are some of the most common and frequently occurring health issues across the US and worldwide. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in four adults have untreated dental cavities. Moreover, 46% of adults above 30 have signs of gum disease on some level.
According to the World Health Organization, the situation is alarming on a global scale. People experience a variety of problems, including caries, oral cancer, oro-dental trauma, overbite, underbite, TMD, and a host of others. This is the first step toward understanding the issue and how it can be fixed.
Here is an overview of a few frequently cited dental problems that people face:
- Periodontal disease
The most frequently encountered dental problem is gum disease caused by plaque. This is caused by the buildup of leftover food that becomes sticky and harmful because of the action of various bacteria as well as saliva. Plaque eventually causes tooth decay, which can weaken the integrity of your gums. Some common factors that lead to gum disease include:
- Hormonal issues: Hormonal changes such as those that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and adolescence make gums more sensitive, making gingivitis more likely to develop.
- Pre-existing issues: Illnesses may affect your gums. This includes diseases like cancer and HIV that weaken the immune system. Since diabetes affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar, patients are more susceptible to infections, cavities, and periodontal disease. These problems are also what causes a root canal to be prescribed by your orthodontist.
- Common prescription drugs: Oral health may be affected because some drugs decrease saliva flow, which protects teeth and gums. Some drugs, such as angina drugs Adalat and Procardia or the anticonvulsant Dilantin, may cause aberrant gum tissue growth.
- Smoking or improper oral hygiene: When unwelcome practices like smoking are carried out, gum tissue has a harder time mending itself. If you practice bad oral hygiene habits, such as not brushing more than twice a day or flossing regularly, gingivitis is also more prone to develop.
- Genetics: A family history of dental illness may affect how gingivitis develops.
Most gum disorders can be treated using various techniques, even though their development can differ.
- Temporomandibular disorder
Temporomandibular disorder, also known as TMD, is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). There are two joints that link the bottom jaw to the skull, enabling actions like chewing, biting, and crushing. TMJs are regarded as the body’s most complicated joints because they support a variety of tasks that our mouths can carry out. TMD can result whenever the bones in these joints and the muscles or ligaments surrounding them are out of alignment.
An estimated 5% to 12% of the global population has TMD, which signifies a substantial chunk. Here are a few common signs of TMD:
- Jaw soreness and discomfort, which tends to worsen in the early hours of the day or late afternoon, though it’s not always painful at these times
- Pain that radiates to the back, neck, shoulder, and area behind the eyes
- Ringing in the ears or ear pain that is not brought on by an accident or infection
- Jaw popping and clicking
- Locking of the jaw
- Limitations with mouth movement
- Teeth grinding and clenching
- Teeth that are more sensitive even when there is no dental illness
- Finger tingling or numbness
- Irregularities in the alignment of both lower and upper jaws
- Overbite and underbite
Overbite and underbite are two dental problems that require orthodontic treatment because they severely impact the way a person’s mouth functions. The name of these respective conditions gives an idea of what they actually are. An overbite is when the upper jaw extends significantly further than the lower jaw, and an underbite is the opposite, meaning that the lower jaw protrudes more than the upper one.
Overbite is extremely common, with almost 22% of the global population facing this issue, whereas underbites are relatively rare. Only about 5% to 10% of all the people around the world have this problem. Both these issues can be appropriately fixed, but only if a person gets treatment within a certain age bracket. Commonly, braces are used to fix the problem of alignment, which slowly pushes the gums back in place.
- Sensitive teeth
For some people, eating food that is too hot or too cold can be more of a problem than others because they have sensitive teeth. The extent of sensitivity can increase because of worn-out enamel and exposure of the underlying dentin directly to food. Commonly known as dentin hypersensitivity, the feeling of hot or cold meals hitting your teeth too hard can emerge from the following causes:
- Periodontal disease
- Infection in the roots of some of your teeth
- A tooth that is broken or cracked
- The filling or crown wearing out
- Erosion of the enamel
- Receding gums
Sensitivity is treatable; various procedures can rectify the enamel so that food temperature doesn’t hit the nerve endings directly.
- Root infection
Your tooth’s root or base may develop a bacterial infection and swell. Cracks, fissures, and cavities in the teeth are the main causes of this. Damage to the tooth’s nerves and tissues and root infection can result in the development of abscesses. If left untreated, bacteria and harmful agents can eat through your teeth, leaving no option for you to remove them completely.
One surefire indication of a root infection is a recurrent, persistent, and long-lasting toothache. It will hurt to chew and bite, and the part of your mouth that is infected will be extremely vulnerable to cold and hot beverages and food. Sometimes the part of the skull closest to the infection swells as well.
Your teeth are extremely vulnerable at all times because they directly come into contact with various disease-causing substances, including sodas, sugars, and sticky or chewy candies. Of course, pre-existing diseases and genetics can also lead to dental problems, but that is beyond any person’s control. Other issues can be prevented with wealthy hygiene habits.