Whether you have excellent oral hygiene or not, there are many things that can go wrong in the mouth and gums. Visiting your dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and checkups is one of the best ways to prevent and protect yourself from many of these common conditions. Here are five common conditions and diseases of the mouth and gums that your dentist will be able to help you diagnose and treat.
Gingivitis is a common condition that happens when bacteria builds up around your gumline and causes the gums to become swollen and inflamed. While not always painful, gingivitis is an early sign of gum disease and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, this condition can turn into a more severe form of gum disease which can be much more painful and even cause you to lose teeth. Gingivitis can easily be identified by your dentist, who can also discuss strategies that will help improve this condition, such as proper brushing techniques, daily flossing, and frequently rinsing with mouthwash.
Put simply, halitosis is chronic bad breath, and there are a number of explanations for this unpopular condition. One common cause of halitosis is an underlying dental issue such as a cavity or gum disease, which create bacteria buildup in your mouth and can cause bad breath. Another common cause of halitosis is dry mouth, which happens when your mouth isn’t making enough saliva. Dry mouth happens for numerous reasons such as a side effect of certain medications, dehydration from not drinking enough water, or the result of some medical conditions. Your dentist will be able to help you get to the bottom of halitosis and find a treatment that helps improve your bad breath.
Canker sores are small, painful lesions that form on or around the gums or tongue. This condition is very common, and the cause is often unknown. Most of the time canker sores will go away on their own, but if they are particularly painful or persistent, your dentist may recommend a certain kind of mouth rinse or over-the-counter ointment to help with the discomfort. Because the cause of canker sores is not usually known, it is also uncertain exactly how to prevent them. However, practicing good dental hygiene and avoiding overuse of tobacco and alcohol has been proven to help decrease your risks.
Oral thrush is a fungal infection that causes white lesions to form on your inner cheek, tongue, or the roof of your mouth. Oral thrush most commonly affects infants, denture wearers, and people with weakened immune systems. This condition occurs when there is an unhealthy overgrowth of a yeast called Candida albicans in the mouth. It greatly depends on the age and demographic of the person suffering from oral thrush, but most often a dentist or doctor will recommend an antifungal medication to treat this condition.
Oral herpes, more commonly known as cold sores or fever blisters, are painful, fluid-filled blisters that form near the lips. Cold sores form after a person has been exposed to a highly contagious and common virus referred to as HSV-1. Studies show that up to 90% of adults have at some point been exposed to HSV-1. However, interestingly, only about 40% of those infected by the virus actually experience outbreaks. The bad news is that there is no cure for HSV-1, so if you are part of the 40%, outbreaks may reoccur. The good news is that cold sores should heal on their own within 7-14 days. Your dentist can also recommend certain preventative creams or pills that can shorten the outbreak.
If you are suffering from any of these conditions or experiencing discomfort of any kind in your mouth, contact your dentist right away. We would love to help you at Cornerstone Family Dentistry, so make an appointment with us today!