What Are The Causes of Oral and Dental Disease?

What Are The Causes of Oral and Dental Disease?

The oral cavity contains all kinds of fungi, viruses, and bacteria. It’s probably a relief to know that some of these actually belong there, as they are the normal flora of your mouth. Typically, these flora are harmless, but only when in small quantities. A person who eats too much sugar can unintentionally create an environment in their mouth where acid-producing bacteria (aka harmful!) can thrive. The acid released can slowly dissolve the tooth enamel, leading to cavities and other not-so-fun things.

Those who want to prevent from getting cavities, gum disease, periodontitis, oral cancer, and other problems are encouraged to visit their family dentist in Apex, NC at least twice a year. Here we have talked about the main contributors of oral and dental disease:

What is plaque?

Most of us have heard of plaque, and that it isn’t a good thing to have too much in your mouth. Gumline bacteria flourish in the sticky plaque that can buildup, harden, and then travel down the tooth if it isn’t removed through flossing and brushing. Gums can then become inflamed and cause gingivitis. If the gums are increasingly inflamed, then the gums may start to pull away from the tooth itself. Pockets bacteria can collect, can cause a more severe stage of gum disease referred to as periodontitis. 

The factors that can contribute to periodontitis and gingivitis include: 

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Lacking proper brushing habits
  • Eating sugary drinks and foods often
  • Taking medication that decreases saliva
  • Genetics and family history
  • Infections (HIV/AIDS)
  • Acid reflux
  • Hormonal changes

What does my dentist do to diagnose me with a dental or oral disease?

When visiting your dentist, there are several things that he or she will be looking for. The majority of oral and dental issues can be observed and diagnosed during a routine dental examination. During the appointment, your dentist is going to take a close look at your teeth, throat, mouth, cheeks, tongue, neck, and jaw for abnormalities. 

In addition to a visual exam, your dentist may scrape your teeth with specific tools to assist in diagnosis. You may be prompted to take x-rays too since imaging of the teeth can help a dentist arrive at the correct conclusion about what’s going on. If you are pregnant, then please notify your dentist prior to the appointment. Women who are carrying a baby should not receive x-rays due to the chances of being exposed to a minute amount of radiation.

What happens if my dentist finds something not normal?

Let’s say your dentist finds an odd growth, lump, or lesions in your mouth. He or she will probably perform a brief gum biopsy, where a tiny piece of tissue is gathered from the area that is abnormal. This sample is submitted to a laboratory and tested for cancerous cells. If your dentist is concerned that oral cancer may be the problem, then additional imaging tests may be ordered to evaluate if it has spread. Such imaging tests can include:

  • Endoscopy
  • CT Scan
  • MRI Scan
  • X-Ray

Thanks to Alliance Dentistry for their insight into dentistry and the causes of oral disease.