Common Oral Health Problems & Treatments Part Two

Common oral health problems introductions, signs and symptoms, what you can do and what the dentist will do with them.

Gum or periodontal diseases

There are different stages of gum disease. Gingivitis, exhibits as mild inflammation of the gums due to plaque buildup. Periodontitis, if gingivitis is left untreated, gum infection damages bone and supporting tissues. Advance periodontitis, at this stage, gum recede further and separate from the tooth. There may be persistent bad breath or changes in the way teeth fit together when biting.

Signs and symptoms may be:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth or sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or longer-appearing teeth


  • Do your part to stave off dental plaque
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily
  • See a dentist for a cleaning twice a year

What the dentist will do: The dentist will do a thorough cleaning under the gums and remove the tartar. Other treatment options may include deep scaling, root planning and oral irrigation. If deep pockets are found and bone has been destroyed, your dentist may recommend periodontal surgery.

What you can do: brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste; floss every day; visit the dentist routinely for a checkup and professional cleaning; eat a well-balanced diet.

More serious gum or soft tissue diseases

Vincent’s infection of the gums, also called trench mouth affects both adults and children. A person with Vincent’s infection may not want to eat because his teeth hurt when he chews food. That can make a person’s malnutrition worse.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Painful and bleeding gums
  • Severely inflamed gums
  • Enlarged and tender lymph nodes in the neck
  • Bad breath
  • Fever

What the dentist can do: the dentist will clean away the pus old food and big pieces of tartar.

What you can do: follow the prescribed antibiotic therapy from the dentist; if possible ideally eliminate stress; eat a healthy diet; half strength peroxide can be used to rinse the mouth three to four times a day; if these remedies fail, see your dentist for more treatment.

Fever blisters

Fever blisters are painful fluid-filled blisters or cold sores that usually occur outside the mouth on the lips, chin, and cheeks or in and on the nostrils, and often begin as blisters. They are caused by a contagious virus called herpes simplex.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Fluid-filled blisters inside and outside their mouth that might appear three to five days after they are infected
  • Fever
  • Swollen neck glands
  • General aches
  • Painful swelling under the jaw

What the dentist will do: give prescription to ease pain, fever or to control any developing infection. To help ease the pain, ointment may be applied on the sores.

What you can do: keep blisters clean and dry to prevent bacterial infection; eat a soft bland diet to avoid irritating the sores; do not touch the sores and spread the virus to new sites; avoid kissing others, saliva contains the virus, or touching the blisters and touching others this will infect them; avoid sharing eating or drinking utensils during an outbreak; sunscreen on lips can prevent sun-induced recurrent of herpes; wipe milk or yogurt over the sores to protect them before eating.

Thrush or oral candidiasis

Oral thrush is the overgrowth of yeast known as conjugate albicans. This affect both adults and children but is a more common infection in infants that causes irritation in and around the baby’s mouth.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Develop cracked skin in the corners of the mouth
  • Whitish patches on the lips tongue
  • Cheeks that look a little like cottage cheese but can’t be wiped away

What the dentist will do: the treatment for mild to moderate infections in the mouth or throat is usually an anti-fungal medicine applied to the inside of the mouth for 7 to 14 days.

What you can do: add probiotics or yogurt with lactobacilli to your diet, the lactobacilli are the good bacteria that can help eliminate the yeast in your mouth; for patients wearing dentures, clean the denture and avoid wearing it overnight; for patients with dry mouth, ensure adequate hydration and choose xylitol sugar-free gum to improve saliva flow; for patients with cracked corners on the lips, avoid licking the area as this will further super infect them with salivary bacteria; discard all lip balm or lipstick currently in use to avoid recurrence.

Canker sores or “SINGAW”

It has similarity in appearance with fever blisters but usually affect adults rather than children. One or more sores can appear at any time. These sores hurt especially when pieces of food touch them. The cause is unknown and therefore many factors are still implicated in the disease including hormonal changes, trauma, drugs, food hypersensitivity, nutritional deficiency, stress and tobacco.

Signs and symptoms

  • A sore can appear on the tongue, roof of the mouth or below the gums on the smooth skin
  • The sore is white or yellow with the skin around it bright red
  • The person may have had a similar kind of sore before as it tends to come back

What your dentist will do: if the sore continues after 10 days, it may be infected and antibiotics should be given, pain relievers to ease pain and oral ointment to relieve discomfort on the sores.

What you can do: rinsing your mouth with a solution of half teaspoon salt dissolved in eight ounces of water; swish a teaspoonful in your mouth and spit it out this can be done four times a day; avoid anything that could cause trauma even minor trauma to the mouth such as hard toothbrushes and raw foods; avoid toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate; if you tend to get canker sores, have any irregular dental surfaces repaired.

Being mindful of these common oral health problems can help you to prevent its occurrence or worsening into more serious complications.

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