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How to Prevent Common Dental Problems

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How to Prevent Common Dental Problems

Dental problems, no matter how common, aren’t something you want to have. Thankfully, most problems are avoidable with proper oral care. Good oral hygiene includes:

  • Brushing at least twice per day
  • Flossing daily
  • Using mouthwash and/or an oral irrigator
  • Replacing your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-6 months
  • Visiting the dentist for a routine cleaning and examination

What are the most common dental problems?

Read on to learn more about the most common dental problems, their symptoms and causes, and how to prevent them. Educating yourself can help you avoid potential oral health problems and keep your oral cavity healthy.

Bad breath

Bad breath can be embarrassing, and it isn’t always due to eating foods with garlic or onions. Patients who constantly have bad breath may have a condition called halitosis. 

Halitosis is an oral condition that is often caused by poor dental hygiene. It may indicate the presence of bacteria in the mouth. Additionally, bad breath may signal an underlying condition, such as gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer, or dry mouth. 

An examination with a dentist is necessary to evaluate and treat the cause of your bad breath.

Tooth decay

As one of the most prevalent diseases, tooth decay is nearly as widespread as the common cold. In fact, studies show that 92% of adults over age 20 have had cavities. It is equally concerning that 26% of adults have untreated decay. 

Early signs of decay include dark spots on the tooth, sensitivity, and visible pits in the tooth. Diets high in sugar and poor oral care can lead to tooth decay. When plaque builds up on the teeth due to sugary foods and isn’t removed properly, it forms tartar. The acids in plaque begin to break down the tooth enamel.

Tooth decay goes through stages and is easily treated when caught early. Left untreated, decay can lead to tooth loss.



A toothache or tooth pain is an early sign of many oral problems, or at least the sign that often gets our attention. Additional symptoms of a toothache include headache, jaw pain, fever, and swelling around the tooth.

Pain that is severe or doesn’t subside requires professional attention. It is often the reason for dental emergencies. Your dentist can perform an examination to  determine the cause of your toothache. The pain may be due to a chipped or broken tooth, severe tooth decay, an infected or abscessed tooth, or a damaged filling.

Treatment for a toothache depends on the underlying cause but may include a root canal, crown, or filling


Like tooth decay, gum disease is a very common dental issue. According to the CDC, 47% of adults in the United States over age 30 have some form of gum disease. 

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease and is the only phase that is reversible. Signs of gingivitis include red, inflamed, or bleeding gums. Poor oral hygiene is often behind the formation of gum disease. Additional risk factors include smoking, genetics, age, certain medications, and dry mouth.

With early treatment, gingivitis is the only stage of gum disease that is reversible. The more advanced stages can be monitored and slowed but not reversed. Tooth loss is possible if gum disease progresses.

Crooked teeth

Crooked teeth are common in children and young adults as their mouths try to make space for incoming permanent teeth. Using a pacifier or regular thumb sucking can cause alignment issues too. 

Although crooked teeth are often thought of as a cosmetic dentistry issue, they cause functional dental health problems too. Teeth that are misaligned have tight areas that make brushing and flossing more difficult. This means bacteria can build up and decay is possible. Also, misaligned teeth may create problems with the biting surface which affects chewing and speaking abilities.

Following good oral health habits and visiting the dentist regularly are necessary to keep the teeth healthy. Orthodontic treatments such as braces or Invisalign can address crooked teeth or alignment issues.

stained or discolored teeth

Stained or discolored teeth

What you eat affects your teeth as much as your body. Certain foods, drinks, and lifestyle choices cause yellowing or discolorations on your teeth. Red wine, coffee, tea, tomato products, and tobacco are the most common culprits for teeth staining.

You can prevent staining by following a good oral hygiene regimen. Additionally, if you do use the products above, rinse your mouth afterwards to keep the products from sticking. Visiting your dental hygienist regularly for teeth cleanings helps remove surface stains too and prevents tartar buildup.

If you are plagued by yellow teeth, you can use teeth whitening products to regain a bright smile. Professional teeth whitening treatments break through the stains to whiten the enamel.

Chipped or broken tooth

No one plans to chip or break a tooth, yet it still is a common dental emergency. Patients can damage the tooth enamel by biting into hard candy, falling, or taking a blow to the face during sports. If the tooth was weakened in any way, it may be more susceptible to damage from an impact.

If the unexpected occurs, remain calm but contact your dentist immediately. Depending on the severity of the damage, your dental team may recommend cosmetic bonding, a crown, veneers, or an extraction.

Going forward, you can try to prevent problems by using care when eating hard foods. Don’t bite down on hard candies or popcorn kernels. Additionally, if you participate in contact sports, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth.

Missing tooth

A missing tooth doesn’t just detract from your smile. It also causes functional and oral health issues. The adjacent teeth may shift and the underlying bone may deteriorate without a tooth root in place to keep it stimulated. The gap from the missing tooth is also a welcome environment for bacteria to collect and cause gum disease.

Tooth loss may occur due to poor oral hygiene, decay, gum disease, or trauma. Treatment options may include a dental bridge, implant, or denture. Options are available based on your tooth loss needs and financial budget.

Prevent dental problems with the best dental care in Ballantyne, NC

The best way to prevent oral issues is by maintaining a good oral routine. Brush your teeth. Visit your dentist regularly. By taking care of your mouth, you give yourself the best chance to prevent problems or to catch issues early.

If you are concerned about common dental problems, contact the team at Aten & Garofalo Dentistry for advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Our dentists provide high-quality, affordable dental care in Ballantyne. Book an appointment today.

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