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Tooth Worries: What Adults Must Prevent or Anticipate

Children need good dental health because it sets the stage for their oral health as adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “People of all ages should practice good oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities (tooth decay), gingivitis, and other dental problems.

In addition, good oral hygiene habits can help prevent other health problems. For example, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), “people with gum disease are at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.”

The best way for children to maintain good dental health is by practicing good oral hygiene. These habits include brushing their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and eating a healthy diet. However, it doesn’t mean that the routine can keep them safe as adults.

Even adults have tooth worries and must take extra care to prevent or anticipate them. Here are some of the concerns that adults should have about their teeth.

Cavities

One of the most common dental health problems in the world is cavities. According to the CDC, cavities are permanently damaged spots that develop into tiny holes on your teeth’s hard surfaces. Bacteria in your mouth, sipping sugary drinks throughout the day, frequent snacking and not water-rinsing, and not cleaning your teeth well usually cause this dental issue.

You can prevent cavities by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the nearest dental clinic regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. However, if you get a cavity, you must see your dentist immediately to treat it before it worsens. If adults let cavities go untreated, they can lead to more serious dental health problems, such as tooth loss.

Gum Disease

Another concern that adults should have about their teeth is gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can damage the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. According to the ADA, gum disease can happen because of plaque, saliva, bacteria, and food stuck between your teeth for a long time. Plaque forms on your teeth when starchy and sugary foods are part of your daily diet, and you neglect to brush and floss your teeth properly. If plaque isn’t removed, it will be even harder to remove and develop into tartar.

You can prevent gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene and regularly visiting the dentist for professional cleanings and checkups. However, if you have gum disease, you must see your dentist immediately, so the infection doesn’t damage your teeth or cause tooth loss.

Impacted Wisdom Tooth

Person with hurting jaw due to wisdom tooth

Another concern adults should have about their teeth is an impacted wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth are the third molars, or back teeth, most people get in their late teens or early twenties. According to the ADA, wisdom teeth can become impacted when they grow at an angle and become stuck against other teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and infection. They can also damage nearby teeth and cause crowding.

Wisdom teeth not causing problems don’t usually need to be removed. However, if your wisdom teeth are impacted, you’ll likely need to have them removed by a dentist or oral surgeon. The pain you might experience from an impacted wisdom tooth is usually not worth waiting out, so it’s best to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Missing Teeth

Missing teeth might not seem like a problem, but its long-term effects on your overall dental health will be. According to the ADA, missing teeth can cause your remaining teeth to shift out of place, leading to bite problems and making it difficult to chew or speak. Missing teeth can also make you look older and affect your self-esteem.

The best way to prevent missing teeth is by practicing good oral hygiene, visiting the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups, and not using your teeth as tools (for example, opening a bottle with them). However, if you do lose a tooth, you have options to replace it, such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures.

Yellowish Teeth

Most people want white teeth, but some have yellow teeth due to different factors. According to the ADA, certain foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-colored fruits and vegetables, can stain your teeth. Smoking also causes teeth to become yellow.

In-office teeth whitening is the most effective way to get whiter teeth. However, over-the-counter whitening products, such as whitening toothpaste, gels, strips, and trays, are available. You can also try natural methods to whiten your teeth, such as using baking soda or hydrogen peroxide.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of age, taking care of your teeth and gums is essential. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing daily, and using mouthwash. In addition, visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. And if you have any concerns about your teeth, don’t hesitate to see your dentist immediately.

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