Common Oral Health Problems

Common Oral Health Problems

Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on Aug 17 2010, 12:48 PM

Tooth decay

When you eat or drink, sugars and starches in your food interact with bacteria in your mouth. This produces acid that erodes your tooth enamel and causes decay. Decay typically occurs in small pits and grooves in your teeth, so it’s important to brush thoroughly and carefully every day.

Gum disease

Gum disease is the number-one cause of tooth loss among adults. Gum disease develops when plaque isn’t properly removed from teeth. Plaque is a sticky film comprised of food particles and bacteria that builds up on teeth. When plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar, which can only be removed with a professional cleaning. If left untreated, gum disease can result in gum recession, which exposes the tooth root and leaves it vulnerable to decay.

Bad breath

Halitosis, also known as bad breath, is an embarrassing and common oral health problem. In fact, 90% of people will suffer from halitosis at some point in their lives.

While bad breath is often caused by poor oral hygiene, it can also be caused by certain medications, poor dieting, dry mouth, smoking or tobacco use, and certain illnesses.

Fortunately, bad breath can be treated. By improving your oral hygiene, brushing your tongue, and drinking plenty of water, you can prevent bad breath.

Tooth loss

Tooth loss is common, with over 120 million American adults missing at least one tooth. If you have lost a tooth, you may notice changes in your speech, as well as changes in how you eat. You may also experience an increased amount of dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and bite misalignment.

If you are missing a tooth, talk with your dentist about tooth replacement options, such as dental implants. Dental implants are permanently placed, and look and function almost exactly like natural teeth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or even a full arch of teeth.


Bruxism is a condition in which a person subconsciously clenches their jaw and grinds their teeth at night. This often happens when people are sleeping, and they often don’t know they’re doing it. Over time, clenching and grinding can lead to a number of oral health problems. Jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and jaw pain are a few common symptoms of bruxism.

Oral cancer

While oral cancer is one of the less common oral health problems, it’s serious enough that our team takes screenings seriously. Oral cancer often goes unseen until it’s in later stages. We offer screenings at every check-up and during visits for routine exams.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ, can cause a variety of symptoms, including jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and popping and clicking of the jaw. It can cause pain in the jaw joint itself, the jaw muscles, or the facial muscles.

TMJ does not usually affect one joint, but all three. The jaw joints, which connect the lower jaw to the skull, are flexible, allowing the jaw to move easily. The muscles that control jaw movement can usually move the joint smoothly.

The facial muscles, which control facial expressions, also help support the jaw joint. All of these muscles, working together, allow the jaw to move smoothly.

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