5 Common Dental Problems and Tooth Diseases

A healthy smile helps us move through the world with confidence. Maintaining good dental hygiene and attending regular check-ups with your dentist can help prevent common dental diseases. The earlier you build those good oral hygiene habits, the less likely it is that you’ll experience tooth disease. 

Here are some of the most common dental problems and tooth diseases – and how you can help prevent them. 

  1. Cavities and tooth decay. More than half of school-aged children and almost all adults have experienced a dental cavity. Cavities occur when bacteria form a plaque on your teeth, eating away at your dental enamel until the tooth is compromised. A healthy diet, fluoridated water, and regular brushing and flossing can help reduce the risk of cavities. 
  2. Cracked or damaged teeth. A fall, contact sports, chewing on something hard, or even grinding your teeth at night can cause teeth to crack or break. A cracked or broken tooth can count as a dental emergency – always contact your dentist if you suspect a cracked tooth. You can also prevent teeth conditions such as these by wearing a mouthguard when playing sports, being mindful when eating popcorn or nuts, or wearing a preventive mouthguard at night to prevent tooth grinding.
  3. Periodontitis. Also known as gum disease, periodontitis is a common dental disease. This disease is caused by the accumulation of bacteria on your teeth and gums. Over time, the bacteria damage the soft tissue of your gums, and even the bone supporting your teeth, potentially resulting in tooth loss. Factors such as smoking, diabetes, certain illnesses and poor oral hygiene can increase your risk for periodontal disease. Brushing, flossing, and attending regular dental checkups will help reduce the risk of periodontitis – or catch it in its early stages when it can be managed. 
  4. Tooth sensitivity. If your teeth hurt when you eat cold or hot food, you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity can happen after dental work, but can also indicate other teeth conditions such as gum disease or compromised fillings. Additionally, some people simply have naturally sensitive teeth. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, talk to your dentist. They will check for underlying issues and may suggest products such as toothpaste and mouthwash designed for sensitive teeth. 
  5. Oral cancer. Oral cancer is less common than other tooth diseases, but still affects millions of people every year. Symptoms include sores and lumps, changes to your bite, and difficulty chewing or eating. Smoking, drinking and HPV are key risk factors for oral cancer. If you are experiencing oral cancer symptoms, talk to your dentist. Many dentists will also screen for oral cancer as part of a routine checkup.

Whether you’re experiencing the signs of dental disease or simply want to prevent them, talk to the team at Optimal today. Our friendly dentists will help you manage existing conditions and help you develop a plan to keep your teeth and gums healthy well into the future. Contact us today to make your appointment!  

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More than half of all adults over 30 have gum disease. These findings were from a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults are not the only group impacted by gum disease. In fact, new research has uncovered a startling link between childhood who are obesity and gum disease.

Understanding the Numbers

A study published in Diabetes Care found that just under 99% of children who were classified as obese had some degree of gum disease or inflammation. A separate group of children classified as overweight were also studied. In this group, 85% of children had some degree of gum disease. This study is among the first of its kind examining the link between childhood obesity and gum disease. However these results are similar to a range of findings in past studies covering adults.

Combating Gum Disease

Gum disease can be challenging to identify at first because you might not even know your child has it. Mild types of gum disease, such as gingivitis, can sometimes go unnoticed. Without proper treatment, gum disease and inflammation can become more severe and more difficult to treat. Early detection and prevention are the keys to a healthy mouth. Gum disease can lead to bad breath and swollen or bloody gums. In its most advanced stages, gum disease can lead to tooth loss as the infected gums recede.

Keeping Your Child Healthy

The most important step you can take is to maintain an active role in ensuring your child practices proper oral hygiene. Make sure they are brushing their teeth for two minutes twice each day. Flossing is essential to keeping gums healthy. Anti-bacterial mouthwashes are also an option for extra protection against plaque buildup. If your child is overweight, consult your pediatrician. Keep up with regular visits to our office. Our team is trained in identifying gum inflammation. We can help your child stay on track for maintaining optimal oral health.

While this particular study is one of the first of its kind, it does mimic the extensive research correlating obesity and gum disease in adults. These alarming findings underscore the importance of maintaining healthy habits and keeping up with oral hygiene.

For more information on keeping your child’s mouth healthy or to schedule a visit, please contact us.

1801 Robert Fulton Dr., Suite 250
Reston, VA 20191

Phone: (703) 391-2222

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Our dentist might suggest dental sealants for your child during a visit to our office. Sealants are a way to protect your teeth against decay. With any dental treatment, it helps to understand the procedure and how it can impact your child’s oral health.

Why Get Sealants?

Sealants help to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied on the back teeth, where decay is most likely to develop. Our dentist will often recommend sealants for children and teens, but adults may benefit from sealants, as well.

The further your teeth are in the back of your mouth, the more difficult it can be to maintain the proper hygiene needed to keep them healthy. Sealants can prevent up to 80% of decay within the first two years alone. After 4 years, sealants continue to prevent as much as 50% of decay. Children without sealants are more than three times as likely to develop tooth decay than those with sealants.

When Should You Get Them?

Your child’s first molars usually become visible around age 6, with the second set around age 12. You will want to talk to us about the best course of action for keeping molars healthy. Sealants are most effective when they are done as soon as the molars break through. Regular examinations with our dentist will determine the best time to have sealants applied.

What Should I Expect?

Sealants are one of the simplest treatments we perform in our office. There is generally no discomfort associated with this process. We will first thoroughly clean your child’s teeth, and then use a special gel. The gel is then cleaned off before the sealant is applied. A small blue light is used to harden the sealant in a matter of moments.

What Concerns Should I Have?

There are no side-effects from sealants, and allergic reactions are extremely rare. However, talk to our doctor about any allergies your child has so we can discuss the best possible course of action.

Next Steps

Sealants last for years before needing to be reapplied. It is important to schedule regular visits to our office so that our dentist can check the condition of the sealants and teeth on an ongoing basis. If your child had sealants several years ago and you are unsure if they should be reapplied, schedule an appointment with us.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy and for questions about dental sealants, contact our office.

1801 Robert Fulton Dr., Suite 250
Reston, VA 20191

Phone: (703) 391-2222

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Your baby’s first teeth developing can be a difficult experience for both you and your child. Most teeth begin to appear as early as 3 months to 1 year old. This process can be uncomfortable and cause sleepless nights. However, there are things you can do to keep your toddler less irritable while they are teething.

What to Expect

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when your baby starts teething. Below are a few symptoms to look for:

It has been thought that teething may cause fever and diarrhea, but research shows that this is not true. If your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms or they worsen, call us for an appointment.

What You Can Do

View the many different ways to safely soothe your teething baby below:

Tip: Contact us before using any teething medications or numbing gels that may pose a risk to your baby.

Teething is a difficult process for not only your baby, but also you. You can relax knowing your baby is more comfortable by using the tips above.

Also, don’t forget to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment as soon as their first tooth has fully emerged. Call us for an appointment today.

Optimal Dental Center of Reston
1801 Robert Fulton Dr., Suite 250, Reston, VA 20191
(703) 391-2222