How to Treat Common Oral Problems

A lot of complications can arise in the mouth, affecting anything from the gums to the teeth, to the lips or the mucous membranes.  It’s important to protect and care for each of these vital elements in order to prevent common oral problems, such as cavities, halitosis (bad breath), gingivitis and canker sores.

How to keep your mouth healthy

More than half of the people around the world have oral problems.  This could be due in large part to insufficient hygiene or lack of visits to the dentist.  You need to undergo periodic exams to detect in time any abnormality in the most delicate areas of the body.  This could prevent pain, discomfort and sores in the mouth, leading to good health. To prevent the most common oral problems, keep the following advice in mind:

  • Reduce sugar consumption: this creates accumulated plaque which increases the risk of cavities and attacks tooth enamel.  Reduce the amount of carbonated beverages or coffee that you consume, which are two of the biggest enemies to white teeth.  Ingesting fried or overly hot foods could create temperature contrasts, making the mouth more sensitive.

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  • Brush your teeth three times a day: morning, after lunch, and before going to bed at night.  Spend three minutes on it each time.  Floss, use a tongue scraper, and topical fluoride.  Do not use too many whiteners, and get a professional cleaning once a year.
  • Pay attention to the medications you take: contraceptives, antibiotics, tranquilizers, analgesics, antihistamines, and antidepressants, when consumed for a prolonged period of time, will cause the mouth to create less saliva and will leave your mouth unprotected.
  • Treat sensitive gums: if your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, eat an apple or a piece of bread, see a dentist for appropriate treatment.

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How to treat the main oral problems

Cavities are the most dangerous and the most common “intimate enemy” in the mouth.  It is caused by bacterial plaque, that sticky substance that forms in the mouth after eating when food residue mixes with saliva.  It forms a transparent film over the teeth.  Once it comes into contact with the germs in the mouth, the sugar ferments and creates an acids that attacks the teeth.  Ideally, you should brush your teeth after eating, and if you have cavities, see a dentist so they can put a filling in (if not treated in time, they will cause pain as they can reach the nerve).

Gingivitis, on the other hand, is an oral disease that a large percentage of the adult population suffers from.  It is caused by bacteria that inflame the gums, making them bleed after brushing or eating certain foods.  It is caused by improper hygiene and can be cured by going to the dentist for a special treatment.  There are specially designed tooth pastes or gels to treat it.  If left untreated or uncured, it can develop into periodontitis, a disorder that affects even more deeply, and that can even destroy the bone supporting the teeth.

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Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, could be due to an oral imbalance caused by something other than cavities, lack of personal hygiene, insufficient salivation or stomach problems.  Mint is one of the most effective home remedies for this unpleasant “aroma” emanating from the mouth.

Canker sores or ulcers often pop up for different reasons, such as stress, a spicy meal, a strong hygiene product, frequently biting the inside of your lips, damaging yourself with a piece of food, etc.  They appear when your defenses are low and the microorganisms living in oral cavities begin to proliferate abnormally.  They form isolated and must be distinguished from the herpes virus, as treatment is different.  They can also appear in people that have braces.  They generally disappear on their own, but if they don’t heal within several days or weeks, you will need to support your immune system.  One of the most known natural remedies for cold sores includes using honey as an antiseptic and antimicrobial, applying it directly to the sore, along with sage, carbonated water, or salt water gargles.

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Having a burning sensation on the tongue, or “burning tongue syndrome” causes pain similar to that of burns.  Menopausal women are primarily the ones that suffer from this.  Some symptoms include a sense of burning, numbness, bitterness, dryness and metallic taste.  It can be cured with mint, which is an antiseptic and refreshing herb, by preparing an infusion and rinsing several times a day with it.  You can also take advantage of garlic and onion’s properties combined.  Make a mixture with both ingredients and apply it to your tongue for a few seconds, rinsing with cold water.  The pain and inflammation will shortly go away.

Lastly, “dry mouth” is a fairly common condition, caused by stress, anxiety, depression, some infections, smoking, diabetes, immune system problems, taking antidepressants or antihypertensives, and dehydration.  Symptoms include burning, pain, bad breath, changes in taste and cavities.  You can use three recipes for treating dry mouth syndrome: chamomile (infusion with chamomile flowers which stimulates saliva glands), green tea (to prevent the appearance of dry mouth thanks to its antibacterial properties), and ginger (increases the amount of saliva while simultaneously getting rid of bad breath).

mouth5 Photos courtesy of Daniela Vladimirova, db Photography, Demi-Brooke, Miranda Granche, SuperFantastic, Bradley Gordon and Stuartpilbrow.