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Top 10 Common Dental Problems and How to Prevent Them

common dental problems and how to prevent them

Let’s be honest. No one wants to have dental problems. The good news is that most of the time oral problems are preventable if you follow good oral health habits. 

Good oral hygiene includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily,
  • Flossing once daily,
  • Rinsing or using an oral irrigator, and
  • Visiting the dentist every 6 months, or as recommended, for routine care.

What Are the Most Common Dental Problems?

Educating yourself on dental issues and proper care is a good step toward preventing problems. Read on to learn more about 10 of the most common dental problems and how to prevent or treat them.

Bad Breath / Halitosis

Bad breath can be embarrassing. However, it can be a bigger problem than just “morning breath” or eating foods like garlic or onions. 

Chronic bad breath is an actual condition and oral health problem known as halitosis.

Halitosis often stems from poor oral hygiene and can be a warning sign of an underlying problem. Persistent bad breath can be a sign of periodontal disease, oral cancer, cavities, dry mouth, or bacteria. Visit your dentist to rule out a serious problem.

Tooth Decay / Cavities

Dental cavities are one of the most prevalent diseases, second only to the common cold. Cavities are caused by tooth decay and plaque. When plaque accumulates on the teeth, it combines with sugars in food to produce an acid that eats away at the teeth.

Tooth decay and cavities are common in children and adults. Eating a healthy diet, avoiding excess sugar, and using proper oral care can help prevent plaque from building up on the teeth. 

Cavities are easily treated with dental fillings to keep the damage from spreading. The filling helps restore the integrity and strength of the tooth.

tooth pain is a common dental problem


A toothache or tooth pain is often the first sign of an oral problem and is a common reason for emergency dental appointments. Besides pain, additional symptoms of a toothache may include fever, headache, or swelling around the tooth.

If your toothache persists for more than a day or two or the pain is severe, contact your dentist. Your toothache may be caused by decay, a broken tooth, a damaged filling, or an abscessed tooth. The treatment for a toothache depends on the underlying cause, but could involve a dental filling for a cavity, root canal for a badly decayed tooth, or a crown for a broken tooth.

Stained Teeth

The foods and drinks we consume have an effect on the appearance of our teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, tomato products, and tobacco can cause the tooth enamel to turn yellow. Yellowed or stained teeth are easily treated with teeth whitening procedures. Teeth whitening is a simple way to dramatically improve the smile.

While stained teeth are generally a cosmetic issue, an excessive buildup of plaque can also create a yellow appearance. Plaque buildup due to poor oral hygiene can lead to the spread of bacteria and formation of gum disease. 

Proper oral health habits are crucial to prevent gum disease and to minimize stains on the teeth.

Gingivitis / Gum Disease

According to the CDC, nearly 50% of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease. 

Also called periodontal disease, gum disease has multiple phases beginning with gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include redness, swollen gums, or gums that bleed easily. Gingivitis is reversible, but left untreated worsens into more severe forms of periodontal disease and can cause tooth loss.

Poor oral hygiene is the usual culprit behind gum disease. Good oral habits and routine dental care are essential for preventing periodontal disease.

Dry Mouth

Saliva helps us break down and digest our food. It also plays a role in keeping bacteria in check. Without enough saliva, the mouth becomes uncomfortable and dry mouth occurs.

Dry mouth can be caused by medications, certain diseases, medical treatments, nerve damage, dehydration, or smoking. Without enough saliva, chronic dry mouth raises the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth infections.

Improve saliva production by drinking plenty of water, sucking on sugar-free candy, breathing through your nose instead of your mouth, and using a vaporizer to add moisture to the air.

Gaps Between Teeth

Also called a diastema, gaps can occur anywhere in the mouth but are most commonly found between the front top teeth. Diastemas may result if the teeth are too small for the jaw, if there is an overgrowth of gum tissue, or from thumb sucking, incorrect swallowing reflexes, or gum disease. 

Small gaps and spacing issues may be cosmetic issues. These can be addressed with cosmetic dentistry such as dental bonding to close the gaps or Invisalign to straighten the teeth. If gum disease is the cause, treatment is necessary to prevent additional dental problems.

crooked teeth are common dental problems

Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth are common in children and adults. Teeth may be misaligned if there is not enough room in the jaw for them to come in properly. Thumb sucking, using a pacifier, and genetics can also play a role in tooth alignment.

Crooked teeth can be harder to keep clean as there are more hidden, hard-to-reach areas where bacteria can hide. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are important to keep your teeth healthy.

Orthodontic treatments such as braces and Invisalign can improve alignment and give you a straight, even smile.

Chipped Tooth

A chipped tooth is a common dental emergency that can occur after eating a hard piece of candy or being injured in a sports activity. 

If you chip or break a tooth, don’t panic. There are treatment options. Depending on the severity of the damage, a chipped tooth may be treated with dental bonding, crowns, veneers, or a root canal.

A damaged tooth can cause tooth pain and additional dental problems. Correcting the damage is important to keep your bite even and strong and to restore the integrity of the tooth.

Missing Teeth

A tooth can be lost due to trauma to the mouth or poor oral hygiene. Missing a tooth disrupts the balance of the mouth. The surrounding teeth may shift. The bite is thrown off so natural chewing and speaking may change.

In addition, gaps from a missing tooth are open spaces where bacteria can accumulate and cause gum disease.

Whether you are missing a single tooth or multiple, there are tooth replacement options. Missing teeth can be replaced with dental bridges, dental implants, or dentures. Your dentist can help you determine the best replacement option for your needs and budget.

Best Dental Care in Pineville, NC

Proper oral care and routine dental visits are crucial to protect the health of your mouth. 

Regardless of your dental needs, Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offers high-quality, affordable dental care in Pineville, NC. We offer general, cosmetic, and restorative dental services to protect the health of your mouth.

Contact Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

If you have dental problems in Pineville, NC, contact Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry for comprehensive dental care.

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