Tooth decay is actually the most common chronic childhood disease! There is bacteria that lives in your mouth and when it breaks down sugar from carbohydrate-rich foods, like candy, soda, cookies and fruit juices (yup, all the good stuff!), it produces an acid that eats away at the tooth and causes dental caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities, or “mouth monsters” if you prefer.
If snacking on an ice pop or sipping a hot drink makes you say, “ouch!” you may have sensitive teeth. When enamel gets worn down, the gums can start to recede or nearly invisible cracks can form on the tooth, which exposes the nerve endings inside. This causes discomfort when the teeth come into contact with hot and cold foods and drinks.
Most of the time a loose tooth in children is caused by erupting permanent teeth. When the grown-up tooth decides to come out, the roots of the baby tooth dissolve and the tooth becomes wiggly and loose. Usually it will fall out on its own. However, every once in a while you may need a little help from us to move the tooth along. If the loose tooth is a permanent tooth, you’ll want to call us right away.
The teeth are usually seen as the stars of the show but the gums are important too. Gum disease, or gingivitis, is when the gums get infected and inflamed. This happens when the bad guys, plaque and tartar, build up at the base of the teeth. Eventually, if untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and bone damage. Bleeding or red and swollen gums and bad breath can be early signs of gum disease.
Halitosis is a big word for bad breath. Everyone gets stinky breath sometimes but when it’s persistent it can be a sign of a bigger problem. It’s usually caused by poor oral hygiene (not brushing and flossing enough), gum issues and dry mouth but digestive conditions, a sinus infection, diabetes and medications can also lead to halitosis.
Aphthous ulcers, more commonly known as canker sores, can appear inside of the mouth. They’re usually white, grayish or yellow and have a red border around them. Canker sores aren’t contagious and while painful, they’re not a cause for major concern. They typically last a week or two and go away on their own. However, if one hangs around for more than two weeks, give us a call.