The most common dental diseases and how you can avoid them by good prophylaxis
Dental diseases are an annoying topic. They are usually associated with pain and discomfort when eating and may also require lengthy treatment. In addition, dental diseases can also trigger or co-cause diseases throughout the body, for example for multiple sclerosis, rheumatism, migraine, diabetes or circulatory problems. So it is all the more important to know exactly which are the most common dental diseases and how you can avoid them by good prophylaxis.
Caries – the leader among the dental diseases
90% of all Germans were already affected by tooth decay. This is tooth rot caused by damage to the enamel. Tooth disease is triggered by caries bacteria that convert sugars from food into acids. This dissolves important tooth-hardening minerals (calcium and phosphate) from the enamel, which softens as a result, and becomes more porous and sensitive.
Caries occurs mainly in the recesses of the chewing surfaces, on the necks of teeth and in the interdental spaces. The resulting cracks and holes must be treated, otherwise the whole tooth will be destroyed. To do this, the tooth is drilled out to carefully remove the damage and closed again by means of a filling, so that no new food particles can accumulate and bacteria are prevented from penetrating. Symptoms of tooth decay are toothache, increased sensitivity of the tooth, as well as patches or small holes in the enamel. If you want to read directly about how to optimally prevent tooth decay, take a look at the topic of teeth brushing .
Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums
Gingivitis is an infectious disease that occurs as a result of dental plaque. Saliva, bacteria, food and metabolic components deposit on the tooth surfaces or interdental spaces during the day and solidify, forming tartar. As a result, the teeth are roughened and attracted to bacteria that release by their metabolism toxins that reach the gums. To ward off, the gums will ignite to prevent the bacteria from penetrating deeper into the tissue. Symptoms of gingivitis are swollen or reddened gums that are no longer tight between the interdental spaces.
The dentist removes the plaque or tartar during treatment. At home, you then use mouthwash with antibacterial agents for a short time, reducing the number of oral bacteria.
Periodontitis – Inflammation of the periodontium
Periodontitis is the most common tooth disease besides caries. If gingivitis is not treated properly and the inflammation penetrates to the dental bed, it is called periodontal disease. Bacteria from the plaque spread to the gums, where cavities form between the cervix and the gums. As a result, solid teeth lose their grip and start to wobble, as the gums can no longer fulfill their stabilizing function. If the periodontitis progresses further, the jawbone is also attacked and it comes to the degradation of the bone substance. Thus, the tooth loses stability and can even fail.
There are two different forms of this tooth disease: apical periodontitis originating from the root apex and marginal periodontitis beginning at the gingival margin. Affected persons initially have no pain, which is why the dental disease often remains undetected for a long time, if no regular visit to the dentist takes place.
However, the following symptoms are a warning sign: Hypersensitivity of the gums, bleeding gums, gum-wasting or loose teeth . During the treatment, the dentist frees the teeth as well as the cavities of bacteria formed between the tooth neck and the gums and, if necessary, removes diseased tissue.
Dentitis – tooth disease with thick cheek
Dentitis is colloquially referred to as tooth root inflammation or tooth nerve inflammation. In this disease, the pulp is inflamed inside a tooth. Nevertheless, the colloquial names are comprehensible, because the inflammation takes place in the area of the tooth root and the tooth pulp is again crossed by fine nerve tracts.
In particular, if parts of the tooth are missing or there is a caries attack, it comes more often to inflammation of the teeth, as the bacteria can easily penetrate into the interior of the tooth. Symptoms include, as with many dental diseases, hypersensitivity and severe pain, but also swelling in the form of a “thick cheek” and pus formation in the vicinity of the diseased tooth. A root canal treatment at the dentist relieves the inflammation and can save the tooth from pulling.
If the therapy stops, bacteria can enter the bloodstream or spread to other areas of the body, leading to chronic inflammation and sequelae.
Jaw cyst – the often-hidden tooth disease
Developmental disorders and untreated inflammation lead to cyst formation in the soft tissue of the oral cavity or in the jawbone. It thus creates cavities, which are surrounded by connective tissue and filled with liquid. These cause no symptoms at the beginning of their development, which is why this dental disease is often discovered on an X-ray at the dentist.
The jaw cyst grows slowly and continuously, and as a result, after a while, the cyst can press on the nerves of adjacent teeth, causing pain or jaw pressure. It also displaces healthy tissue and it can lead to malocclusions. Therefore, the dentist removes the jaw cyst in a so-called cystectomy. Under local anesthesia, the bone is opened, the cyst is removed, and any resulting cavities are filled with bone substitute materials if they are too large to ossify on their own.
Dental granulomas – small nodules in the tooth area
This dental disease arises when the tissue in the tooth area is chronically irritated or inflamed. Dental granulomas consist of inflammatory cells surrounded by a capsule of the skin. They are either in the area of the root of the tooth, where they can only be detected by X-rays at the dentist, or in the visible area of the gums. Typical symptoms are pain and mild bleeding. Dental granulomas are surgically removed and as part of the treatment, the dentist also eliminates the triggering inflammation.
How you can protect your teeth through good prophylaxis
In addition to proper dental care at home, regular dental visits and a balanced and healthy diet also play an important role in prophylaxis in order to avoid dental diseases. Here are a few things to watch out for:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day to prevent settling bacterial plaque. Pay particular attention to a thorough cleaning of molars, as bacteria like to settle there. After consuming acidic foods such as apples or soft drinks, you should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, otherwise your enamel will be attacked by the acid and cleaning action.
- Use floss or an interdental brush, a tongue scraper and antibacterial mouthwash to prevent unwanted bacteria from settling in your mouth.
- Fluoride-containing toothpaste protects the enamel, promotes remineralization of the teeth and inhibits the spread of bacteria. You should also change your toothbrush or brush attachment every three months at the latest.
- Make use of a professional tooth-cleaning service that removes coverings as well as cleaning areas that you can not reach with the toothbrush yourself. The teeth are additionally polished and treated with fluoride to remove rough spots and bumps and to protect against the formation of new deposits and the colonization of bacteria.
- Visit your dentist twice a year, as it can often detect dental diseases before you experience the first symptoms, ensuring optimal treatment at an early stage.
- Take sugar and acidic foods and drinks only in moderation, as they are food source for bacteria and thus attack the teeth. Look for a diet rich in vitamins A, C, D and E and minerals as these help the immune system and are responsible for strong teeth and bones.
Good prophylaxis protects your teeth against the dental diseases described above. But if symptoms occur, do not hesitate to make an appointment with your dentist immediately. He will give you a reliable diagnosis and will make your treatment as comfortable as possible, so that you can soon show your healthy smile again.