Are you ready for some shocking statistics? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of patients state they felt pain in their mouth within the last year, 90% of U.S. adults have had a cavity by their 21st birthday, and 34 million school hours are missed each year as a result of dental emergencies. So, it is safe to say that our dental care needs an upgrade. Fortunately, the three most common oral health problems are largely preventable! Read on for what they are and how you can protect your teeth and gums.
3 Most Common Oral Health Problems
- Cavities (Tooth Decay) – Cavities are a form of tooth decay that can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to fully develop. When the bacteria in your mouth produce acid, it breaks down the enamel. If left untreated, it will work its way through the outer coating and into the inner layers of your tooth, which can result in anything from slight discomfort to severe pain. Currently, this oral health problem affects 25% of children, 50% of adolescents, and 90% of adults.
- Gum (Periodontal) Disease – Did you know that gum disease affects roughly 65 million people? This condition is a result of an infection of the gums, bone, and tissue surrounding the teeth. In the early stages, it is treatable. However, if neglected, it can lead to serious oral health concerns, including tooth loss and gum recession.
- Oral Cancer – According to the American Cancer Society, over 53,000 cases of oral cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year alone. Typically, this form of cancer is found in patients who engage in poor oral habits, like smoking tobacco products. Recently, the CDC reported that the 5-year survival rate is roughly 61%, but early detection and intervention can lead to more promising numbers.
5 Good Preventive Habits to Start Today
Initially, learning about the three most common oral health problems can be sobering. However, it is important to remember that they are largely preventable! To keep your teeth, gums, and overall dental health in tip-top shape, make sure to:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.
- Floss daily.
- Use mouthwash regularly.
- Visit your dentist bi-yearly for an examination and professional cleaning.
- Quit poor oral habits (i.e., smoking, neglecting to floss, etc.).
Although oral health problems are rampant right now, it is important to know you can protect yourself from becoming a part of these statistics. By prioritizing prevention, you can keep your teeth and gums in pristine condition for years to come!
About the Author
After obtaining her undergraduate degree at Wichita State University, Dr. Megan A. Shelton received her Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Today, she uses her extensive experience, advanced training, continuing education, and genuine passion for dentistry to provide her patients with world-class service. If you would like to speak with Dr. Shelton about improving your oral health or scheduling your bi-yearly appointment, don’t hesitate to visit her website or give her a call at 760-434-9800.