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COMMON dental problems, symptoms, and how to treat them.

By Sasha Curry

Are your teeth sensitive to hot and cold? Or, perhaps you’ve become self-conscious after discovering your struggle with chronic bad breath, or you’ve noticed that your gums are beginning to recede. At M Street Dental, we are committed to maintaining the oral health of our patients through education and the highest calibre of care possible. Some of us have a genetic predisposition to fewer oral health complications. While others, despite maintaining a healthy routine will face a greater number of obstacles that can adversely impact their oral health. Either way, almost all of us will experience some kind of mouth related issue at some point in our lives. 

Today we’ll be discussing a few of the most common dental health problems, and the symptoms that mark each complication, along with some recommendations for treatment. 

Before we begin, we’d like to remind you that our staff are here to support you with whatever dental related queries or concerns you may have. Your smile and the health of your teeth should bring you joy, and we’re here to help make that possible at every turn.

Okay, let's explore!

Like the rest of our bodies, the state of our oral health can be linked to our diet, genetics, age, and of course, our care routine -- or lack thereof. 

So, what are some of the most common dental problems people experience?

Cavities: Close to 100% of adults have/will develop at least one cavity in their lifetime.

Chronic bad breath: This can be caused by smoking, dry mouth, and periodontal disease.

Sensitivity: Often sudden, this can be caused by grinding your teeth, overconsumption of acidic foods/beverages, or brushing your teeth too hard.

What are the causes of these common problems, and how can I treat them?


As one of the most common oral health complications, cavities develop as holes in your teeth, and are often referred to as tooth decay. Overtime, when left untreated, cavities can become bigger and more problematic. Since not all cavities cause pain, they often go unnoticed. Regular trips to your dental practitioner for checkups can help to diagnose cavities early on in development (the best possible scenario), making treatment and prevention much more achievable. 

What causes cavities?

-Excessive sugary/acidic food and beverages

-Lack of fluoride 

-Inadequate oral routine, such as daily brushing and flossing. CLICK this link for the ADA (American Dental Association’s) oral routine recommendations. 

How to Fight/Prevent Cavities 

Cavities are best prevented/treated through regular checkups with your dentist, a proper oral care routine, and potentially dentist administered fluoride treatment(s) which help to strengthen enamel, making your teeth more resistant to bacteria and acid. 

Chronic bad breath 

If you’ve noticed a bad smell/taste coming from your mouth that doesn’t seem to go away after regular brushing and flossing, it could be the result of an underlying condition. Halitosis or fetor oris (bad breath) will affect at least 50% of adults in their lifetime.  

What causes bad breath?

Everything we consume, both food and beverages, can become trapped in our teeth and is broken down by the healthy bacteria in our mouths. The combination of the bacteria in your mouth and the presence of decaying food can contribute to bad breath. 

Though regular brushing and flossing should help mitigate and control bad breath, the following variables may be to blame if you are struggling to keep things fresh.

Smoking: Not only may this create an unpleasant odor, it can cause your mouth to be dry which may compound your struggle with bad breath

Periodontal disease: Gum disease(s) can occur overtime when plaque isn’t removed from the teeth. Left untreated, plaque becomes tartar which can create pockets for food and debris to collect, thus, causing bad breath. 

Dry mouth: A dry mouth can be caused by certain medications (blood pressure/antidepressants), sleeping with your mouth open, and smoking. Since saliva plays a part in keeping your mouth clean and reducing odor, having a dry mouth can add to difficulties with bad breath.  

How to treat bad breath

If you’re struggling with chronic bad breath, a simple cleaning from your dentist can often help to eliminate or greatly reduce the problem. If the cause is periodontal disease, a more rigorous cleaning may be recommended. In the case of a dry mouth, an artificial saliva product may be prescribed. And, as always, drink plenty of water to help flush bacteria from your mouth and to regulate proper salivation.   

Tooth Sensitivity 

Pain/discomfort when consuming hot and/or cold foods/beverages is not uncommon. However, in some cases, these symptoms may be indicative of an oral complication, such as a cavity.  

Sensitive Teeth: The cause(s)

When it comes to tooth sensitivity, the enamel of your teeth takes centre stage. Whether you have a genetic predisposition to thinner enamel, or the enamel of your teeth has eroded due to improper care, teeth can be left feeling more sensitive without adequate protection from the edible elements

So other than a predisposition to thinner enamel, what might you be doing/not doing that's contributing to more sensitive teeth? 

-Excess consumption of acidic food/beverages

-Brushing your teeth too hard

-Grinding your teeth at night 

-Inconsistent/lack of flossing leading to gum recession leaving more of the tooth exposed.

Managing/treating sensitive teeth

The first place to start would be exploring the use of a toothpaste designed for those who struggle with sensitive teeth. If you notice that discomfort appears to be isolated to a single tooth, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist as you may be dealing with a cavity. In addition, you may consider opting for a softer toothbrush. Although our teeth need regular care, harder brushing does not equate to cleaner teeth. In fact, brushing too rigorously may be the culprit behind your sensitive teeth. 

What now?

Today we covered a few of the most common problems encountered when caring for our teeth. Whether you're struggling with chronic bad breath, tooth pain, or have any other complication with your teeth, we always encourage accessing the support of trained professionals. And, this of course is where we step in. M Street Dental is committed to answering all of your questions, and helping you wherever and whenever possible to achieve a smile that makes you feel your best. Book your appointment today! We’d love to hear from you.

From all of us at M Street,

Stay smiling!

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