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Bad breath, toothaches, and coffee-stained teeth aren’t merely small issues. And when these dental issues go untreated, this can result in  gum disease, tooth loss, tooth decay, abscesses, and other dental infections. Thankfully, there are solutions to treat at least eight common oral health issues.

More than clean teeth or fresh breath, oral health is about your entire mouth, which is considered the window a person’s overall health, according to John A. Valenza, D.D.S., dean of the University of Texas Health School of Dentistry in Houston.  Poor oral health can impact one’s self-image and comfort, and it can increase the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and numerous systemic infections.

  1. Clicking Jaw: The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which moves about 2,000 – 3,000 times daily, is a complex joint. Issues with the joint are instigated by wear and tear, trauma, chronic clenching, grinding, a slipped disk, or autoimmune disease. While the problem can be limited to the facial muscles or the joint itself, symptoms can be widespread, causing headaches, back pain, neck pain, and bite problems. Whether jaw clicking is painful or not, the long-term effect of the popping or joint arthritis can occur. Tips: apply heat to the outside of the sore area, avoid chewing wide, reduce your consumption of stimulants, reduce tension through yoga, utilize anti-inflammatory meds.

  2. Bad Breath: Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is unpleasant. Bacteria, food, gum disease, medical disorders, tooth decay and poor oral health are frequently the culprit, so one has to be mindful and work to solve those issues. The top three ways to address this problem is to make a dentist appointment, practice good hygiene, and to stimulate saliva. The modification of diets, improving hygienic routines and using  sugarless candy to increase fluids in the mouth are great to keep bad breath at bay.

  3. Canker Sores: Canker sores are small ulcers that form within the mouth, usually they are related to hormonal changes, and stress, fatigue, or allergies may increase the likelihood of these sores. Though they tend to independently heal within 1-2 week, but there are topical anesthetics and antimicrobial mouthwashes to treat the issue. Additional advice: avoid spicy, salty, very hot, and very cold foods, and use oral dressings to improve canker sores.

  4. Cavities: Susceptibility, at-home oral care, and eating habits impact tooth decay and dental plaque, which causes cavities. Following the formation of a cavity, a dentist can remove the decayed portion, clean that tooth, and fill that space with a filler that’s made of amalgam, resin, gold or porcelain. Large cavities can be restored with cap or crown, and an endodontist can perform a root canal. Some important tips to consider: take over-the-counter painkiller with water, don’t place aspirin directly on the gap caused by the cavity. It could cause damage to exposed soft tissue as it dissolves.

  5. Receding Gums: Oral recession occurs when the gums roots are exposed due to aging. Receding gums can also produce periodontal disease and toothbrush abrasion. Signs that your gums are receding are when teeth appear longer and cleft at the gum line. Also, roots may be visible and gums may be swollen and red. To combat this, practice good oral hygiene and regularly visit the doctor, this is particularly important for those over the age of 40. Also, gum grafts are sometimes used to prevent slow progressing recession, gum inflammation, and root decay.

  6. Dental Fluorosis: Dental fluorosis is the discoloration of teeth prompted by too much fluoride. Luckily, the discoloration is ultimately a cosmetic issue. It can be sold by making use of certain cosmetic dental procedures, such as crowns or veneers.

  7. Stained/Discolored Teeth: Teeth are normally yellowed and made grayish by porous enamel, oral care habits, and food stains. This can be solved by abstaining from things that stain teeth, such as smoking, coffee, and soda. Gum grafts can be used to prevent and treat gum inflammation and root decay, and to slow recession.

  8. Avulsed Teeth: Teeth that are knocked out due to sports injuries and other incidents (ex. falls, fights, and car accidents) are quite common. Nonetheless, knocked-out or avulsed teeth can be replanted within 30 minutes. In order to do this, one must rinse the tooth with water and simply place it back into the socket, or one could temporarily store it in whole cold milk, saline or water while making one’s way to the dentist for an x-ray and replantation. A tooth can be replanted if there’s a fractured bone, or if it’s a permanent bridge or implant.

Learn how to beautify and restore your teeth whitening, brushing, and flossing techniques offered by American Dental Association.