Dental and gum problems are among the most common health issues that people experience throughout their lives causing pain, discomfort, and even death. The World Health Organization shows that almost 100 percent of adults deal with tooth cavities, while between 60 to 90% of school-aged children also deal with dental cavities. 

Also, according to the World Dental Federation, globally, the fourth most expensive health conditions to treat are dental and mouth problems. Data shows that every year, in the United States, over $110 billion are spent on oral health be it to treat or to prevent issues. 

Dental problems are never any fun because they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, bleeding and, in some severe cases, even death. Preventing all oral health problems comes down to good oral care habits such as cleaning your teeth every day, flossing, having healthy nutrition, and paying regular visits to dental professionals. In fact, regular dental visits are the most important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. The dental professionals from GMDG explain that “Prevention is always better than needing a cure. During the dental checkup, dental professionals check the patient’s overall oral health for any trouble areas which is the best way to discover oral health issues in the early stages.”

Here are the most common oral health problems that require an immediate visit to the dentist: 

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Toothache 

We have all struggled with a toothache at least once in our life. And, we all know that the pain is so disturbing and unpleasant that it can totally ruin your day. It is the most common condition people face when it comes to dental health problems. 

Toothache often appears as a sign of an abscess or even a more serious dental problem. If there is only a common problem behind the pain, rinsing your mouth with warm water to remove bacteria and food between your teeth and taking a pain reliever can help. However, if you have persistent pain, there can be a more serious problem, so, make sure you make a dentist appointment immediately. 

Bad breath 

Bad breath is the most common oral health problem that can be really inconvenient and embarrassing. In medical jargon, it is called halitosis and it is often caused by dental conditions or acid reflux. Dental studies show that almost 85% of people who have bad breath face this problem due to a dental issue

Bad breath can be caused by gum disease and cavities. One common cause of this condition is also dry mouth, and even bacteria on the tongue as well. However, bad breath can also be caused by a gastroesophageal reflux disease which can also lead to teeth loss over time.  

The bad news about bad breath is the fact that products such as mouthwash won’t solve your problem. It will only cover the bad odor for a while. But, until you see your dentist and fix the causes of the condition, you won’t manage to solve your chronic bad breath problem. 

Tooth decay

Cavities are another very common dental health problem affecting all of us. Tooth decay is the second most common health issue in the US. Cavities represent the area that is permanently damaged causing holes in the tooth. 

This condition is often caused by poor oral care which allows bacteria and food that create a plaque on the tooth. Over time, the plague and acid will dissolve the enamel of the tooth and the connective tissues of the tooth which eventually leads to decay of your tooth. 

Apart from brushing your teeth after every meal and flossing once a day, tooth decay can also be prevented if you have teeth-friendly nutrition such as avoiding snacks and soda drinks and by eating foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and dairy products. 

Gingivitis and periodontitis 

Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two most common gum diseases that represent an infection of the gums that surround your teeth. Gum disease represents the main cause of tooth loss among adults. 

Gum disease isn’t only painful and risky for your oral health but may also affect your heart health. Some studies have shown that there is a link between gum disease and heart conditions due to the fact that infections enter your body through your gums and reach your heart. 

Gingivitis and periodontitis are usually caused by unhealthy habits such as smoking, diabetes, and dry mouth. Moreover, gum disease can be recognized through symptoms such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, bleeding gums, and painful chewing. 

The best way to prevent gum disease is to properly clean your entire mouth every day, at least two times. However, apart from properly cleaning your teeth, make sure you also properly clean your gums to avoid the formation of plague and to remove any bacteria between your teeth. 

Oral cancer 

The World Health Organization claims that there are between 1 and 10 cases of oral cancer out of every 100.000 people in different parts of the world. It is a very serious oral health problem that can even lead to death if it is not treated in the early stages. The Oral Cancer Foundation says that in the US, one oral cancer patient loses their life every hour. 

The causes of oral cancer include tobacco and alcohol use and HPV disease. Oral cancer is most often seen in people over 40. The best way to prevent this condition is to have good oral care habits and regular visits to the dentist in order to diagnose the condition in the early stages. 

Tooth erosion 

Tooth erosion is another common dental health condition caused by acid that attacks the enamel of the tooth. It leads to the loss of tooth structure, cracking, and, over time, tooth loss. Its most common symptoms include discoloration of the teeth, sensitivity, rounded teeth, and transparent appearance of the tooth. 

Tooth sensitivity

Did you ever felt pain when eating or drinking something cold or warm? This may be the most obvious sign of tooth sensitivity. Globally, tooth sensitivity affects everybody at some point in their life due to other dental conditions. This condition displays symptoms such as pain or discomfort from drinks or foods that are hot or cold, sweet, and cold air.  

A perfect smile is the result of a healthy mouth. If you recognize any of the symptoms and signs of these common oral health issues, make sure you see your dental professional as soon as possible. 

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Most common oral health problems- Symptoms and prevention," in Medicalopedia, November 21, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8001/most-common-oral-health-problems-symptoms-and-prevention/].