The health of your mouth has a big impact on your overall health. Discover five oral health problems that can affect your quality of life. Remember, it’s important to see a dentist before it’s too late!
Very common, gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease and is, in fact, an inflammation of the gums caused by an accumulation of dental plaque on the teeth. Dental plaque is a sticky and virtually invisible bacterial film that forms constantly on the teeth. If this plaque is not removed every day through brushing and flossing, it hardens and becomes tartar. At this point, the gums can become red, inflamed and sensitive, and may even bleed during brushing or flossing.
2. Periodontitis (gum disease)
When inflammation spreads and reaches the bone, it progresses to periodontitis, a more advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is an inflammation of the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums and the bones. With time, these tissues detach from the teeth and the space between the teeth and the gum becomes deeper, loosening the teeth and exposing the gum. In addition, periodontitis causes the loss of bone that holds the teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to the loss of one or several teeth.
Often quite painful, a tooth abscess is a purulent infection of the mouth that can affect the gums, the teeth or the supporting tissues. There are several types of dental abscesses. The gingival abscess, for instance, affects the area surrounding the tooth and is characterized by red and inflamed gums. The periodontal abscess is also located around the gum line, but the infection gets deeper and is generally caused by an accumulation of tartar under the gum. The periapical abscess, for its part, is located at the root of the tooth. It can be caused by a deep cavity, a crack in the tooth or a damaged filling.
4. Mouth ulcers
Despite its small size, a mouth ulcer can be very painful and uncomfortable, especially when it comes into contact with food and liquids. It presents as a small, whitish sore with a red edge. These ulcers develop inside the cheeks or lips, on the tongue, the palate or the gums. While the exact cause is unknown, several factors can trigger their occurrence: tissue injury inside the mouth, ill-fitting dentures or braces, physical fatigue, food allergies or nutritional deficiencies, as well as certain medications. Talk to your pharmacist who can advise you and help you relieve the pain of mouth ulcers.
5. Receding gums
Gum recession is the wearing away of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. It is most often caused by inadequate dental hygiene (horizontal brushing or aggressive toothbrushing with a hard brush, for example) or by gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis, for example). Gum recession occurs gradually and can take years to develop. Teeth will start to look longer, the space between teeth and their roots will become visible which, in turn, will increase sensitivity. Left untreated, gum recession can lead to the loss of the affected teeth.