Medical information on Mouth Disorders
Your mouth is one of the most important parts of your body. Any problem that affects your mouth can make it hard to eat, drink or even smile.
Some common mouth problems include:
- Cold sores - painful sores on the lips and around the mouth, caused by a virus
- Canker sores - painful sores in the mouth, caused by bacteria or viruses
- Thrush - a yeast infection that causes white patches in your mouth
- Leukoplakia - white patches of excess cell growth on the cheeks, gums or tongue, common in smokers
- Dry mouth - a lack of enough saliva, caused by some medicines and certain diseases
- Gum or tooth problems
Treatment for mouth disorders varies, depending on the problem. Keeping a clean mouth by brushing and flossing often is important.
Cold Sores are also called: Fever blister, Oral herpes
Cold sores are caused by a contagious virus called herpes simplex. There are two types of herpes simplex virus. Type 1 usually causes oral herpes, or cold sores. Type 1 herpes virus infects more than half of the U.S. population by the time they reach their 20s. Type 2 usually affects the genital area.
Some people have no symptoms from the infection. But others develop painful and unsightly cold sores that last for a week or more. Cold sores usually occur outside the mouth -- on the lips, chin, and cheeks, or in the nostrils. When they do occur inside the mouth, it is usually on the gums or the roof of the mouth.
There is no cure for cold sores. Medicines can relieve some of the pain and discomfort associated with the sores. These include ointments that numb the blisters, antibiotics that control secondary bacterial infections, and ointments that soften the crusts of the sores.
Also called: Periodontal disease
If you have gum disease, you're not alone. About 80 percent of U.S. adults currently have some form of the disease. It ranges from simple gum inflammation, called gingivitis, to serious disease that results in damage to the bone.
In gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen. They can bleed easily. Most people can reverse this with daily brushing and flossing and seeing their dentist regularly. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. The gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that are infected. If not treated, the bones, gums and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed.
Your teeth are made of a hard, bone like material. Inside the tooth are nerves and blood vessels. You need your teeth for many activities you may take for granted. These include eating, speaking and even smiling. But tooth disorders are nothing to smile about. They include problems such as cavities (also known as tooth decay), infections, and injuries.
The most familiar symptom of a tooth problem is a toothache. Others include worn-down or loose teeth. It's important that you see a dentist if you have any problems with your teeth. Fortunately, you can prevent many tooth disorders by taking care of your teeth and keeping them clean.
What are canker sores? Canker sores are shallow, painful sores in the mouth. They are usually red or may sometimes have a white coating over them. You might get them on the inside of your lips, the insides of your cheeks, the base of your gums or under your tongue. Canker sores are different from fever blisters, which usually are on the outside of your lips or the corners of your mouth.
Anyone can get canker sores, but women and people in their teens and 20s get them more often. Canker sores may run in families, but they aren't contagious. Doctors do not know what causes canker sores, however, canter sores could be triggered by stress, poor nutrition and food allergies.
Dental Health is also called: Oral health
It's important to take care of your mouth and teeth starting in childhood. If you don't, you could have problems with your teeth and gums - like cavities or even tooth loss.
Here's how to keep your mouth and teeth healthy:
- Brush your teeth every day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss your teeth every day
- Snack smart – limit sugary snacks
- Get enough calcium
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco
- See your dentist regularly
Child Dental Health
Healthy teeth are important to your child's overall health. From the time your child is born, there are things you can do to promote healthy teeth. For babies, you should clean teeth with a soft, clean cloth or baby's toothbrush. Avoid putting the baby to bed with a bottle and check teeth regularly for spots or stains.
For all children, you should
- Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste
- Provide healthy foods and limit sweet snacks and drinks
- Provide low-fat milk and dairy products high in calcium
- Schedule regular dental check-ups
Forming good habits at a young age can help your child have healthy teeth for life.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Here are three common causes of bad breath:
- foods and drinks, such as garlic, onions, cheese, orange juice, and soda
- poor dental hygiene, meaning you don't brush and floss as you should
- smoking and other tobacco use
Poor oral hygiene leads to bad breath because when you leave food particles in your mouth, these pieces of food can rot and start to smell. The food particles may begin to collect bacteria, which can be smelly, too. Plus, by not brushing your teeth regularly, plaque (a sticky, colorless film) builds up on your teeth. Plaque is a great place for bacteria to live and yet another reason why breath can turn foul.
Preventing Smelly Breath
If you don't smoke or use tobacco products, and take care of your mouth by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Brush your tongue, too, because bacteria can grow there. Flossing once a day helps get rid of particles wedged between your teeth. Also, visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings.
Not only will you get a thorough cleaning, the dentist will look around your mouth for any potential problems, including those that can affect breath. For example, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can cause bad breath and damage your teeth.
If you're concerned about bad breath, tell your doctor or dentist. But don't be surprised if he or she leans in and take a big whiff! Smell is one way doctors and dentists can help figure out what's causing the problem. The way a person's breath smells can be a clue to what's wrong. For instance, if someone has uncontrolled diabetes, his or her breath might smell like acetone.
If you have bad breath all the time and the reason can't be determined by your dentist, he or she may refer you to a doctor to make sure there is no other medical condition that could be causing it. Sometimes sinus problems, and rarely liver or kidney problems, can cause bad breath.