The most common dental problems and how to avoid them

Owlsmoor Dental Problems

At some point or another we’re all going to suffer dental problems. In this month’s blog we’ll take a look at the most common dental problems that we come across at Owlsmoor Dental Practice. Rest assured though, as we also share how to avoid these common dental problems.  To learn more, continue reading…

Bleeding gums and bad breath

Bleeding gums are a fairly common problem, and most of us will suffer from them on occasion. The cause of bleeding gums and bad breath is usually gum disease, which causes the gums to become inflamed and then bleed. If left untreated gum disease can lead to loss of teeth.

Gum disease can be prevented by ensuring you following a good oral hygiene routine at home. This will thoroughly remove the plaque bacteria which causes gum disease.

  • Brush twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes – there is no need to rinse out afterwards
  • Floss or use interdental brushes once a day

It’s also important to visit the hygienist regularly for a professional clean and advice on how to keep on top of things.


Discoloured teeth

Teeth can become discoloured for a number of reasons – the most common being smoking, a diet high in staining food/drink, and age.

You can help to prevent discolouration by following a good home oral hygiene routine, and reducing the amount of staining food/drink in your diet. Common culprits are tea (including green and herbal teas), coffee and fizzy drinks.

It can be helpful to rinse your mouth out with water straight after having staining foods/drink and to try and reduce the frequency of consumption. Whitening toothpastes can be effective, but are also more abrasive than regular toothpastes, which can lead to sensitive teeth.

Tooth whitening is a great way to brighten up your teeth, but please ensure you only seek this treatment from a GDC registered clinician, as we can fully assess your teeth and ensure we offer you safe and effective treatment.


Broken teeth

Teeth usually break due to tooth decay (or dental caries), or some sort of trauma.

The best way to reduce your chances of developing tooth decay is to look at your diet and reduce the frequency of your sugar/acid intake, and to ensure you are following a good home oral hygiene routine. Another tip is to rinse your mouth out with water straight after having anything with a high sugar/acid content, and then brush your teeth after around 30 minutes. Chewing sugar free gum can also help neutralise acid.

When looking at food and drink packaging, try to choose food and drink low in sugar and acid, and bear in mind natural sugars can cause decay the same as added sugars.

The top foods and drinks I see causing decay in my patients are:

  1. Fizzy drinks: Unfortunately, even diet drinks can cause tooth decay due to their high acid content
  2. Squash: Even though some squash has “no added sugar” – if you drink enough of it the acid can cause decay
  3. Low fat foods: Certain low fat foods, although marketed as being healthier for us – are actually higher in sugar. For example, yogurts and low fat ready meals often have a high sugar content

Another big cause of broken teeth is tooth grinding/clenching.

In some cases this may only happen at night so you may be unaware of it. When you see your dentist for an examination they may see signs that you are clenching/grinding your teeth and they will recommend treatments to help protect your teeth. A common aid is wearing a custom mouthguard at night to help protect your teeth. In addition, stress management techniques and jaw exercises can help tame the habit.


Sensitive Teeth

We typically see an increase in tooth sensitivity when the weather changes, usually in the summer we are drinking and eating a lot more cold food/drink, and in the winter it’s colder outside which can lead to more sensitivity.

Sensitivity is caused by the exposure of dentine, which is the tooth layer underneath enamel. This can be caused by overbrushing which can lead to exposed dentine and thin enamel. Using an electric toothbrush and a light brushing technique can help reduce this. Another cause can be acid erosion, which is usually caused by a diet high in acid, medical conditions or exposure at work.

Sensitive toothpastes can be really effective, but you need to ensure you are not rinsing out after brushing.