Watch Out for These Oral Health Threats

oral health Scottsdale, AZ

When your practice good oral health, your teeth and gums are able to function without issue. Of course, your oral health does not only affect your mouth. Oral health is directly linked to overall health and even heart health. Taking care of your mouth is not only important for proper eating but also to keep you feeling and looking healthy, especially as you age.

Oral health threats

Some threats to the longevity of your oral health include:

  • Plaque and tooth decay
  • Periodontal disease
  • Bruxism
  • Poor diet
  • Reckless use

Plaque and tooth decay

Cavities are one of the most common issues encountered by dentists today. Even with a wealth of information regarding cavities out there, some misinformation still persists regarding these harmful holes in your teeth.

When the millions of bacteria in your mouth have access to a food source, one can imagine how quickly these bacteria can colonize. These bacteria feed on the food particles and residue leftover from eating and drinking throughout the day.

As the bacteria digest, they produce acid. This acid then builds up and creates plaque. Periods of poor oral hygiene then allow the plaque to grow, eventually eating away at the enamel and causing tooth decay. This advanced tooth decay is better known as a cavity.

Periodontal disease

Some of these bacteria in the mouth can start to attack the gums if left unchecked. When mild gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) like gingivitis goes untreated, it can cause serious issues down the line. The gums weaken over time, loosening their tight grip around the teeth. Once there is a space between the gums and teeth, it becomes easier and easier for an infection to establish itself.

In advanced cases of periodontal disease, the gums are no longer able to protect and bind to the teeth. At this point, teeth can begin to loosen or even fall out. Make sure to never skip your dental cleanings to prevent this from happening.


Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism usually happens unconsciously during sleep. Symptoms during the day include a dull, constant headache, jaw pain and teeth clenching.

Teeth grinding and clenching can weaken teeth and eventually cause fractures and tooth loss. Bruxism is an uncomfortable condition and can lead to a jaw disorder known as TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder). Stress relief tactics and consciously relaxing the jaw throughout the day can help you to kick the habit.

Poor diet

Bacteria in the mouth feed on carbohydrates, known otherwise as starches and sugars. Bacteria buildup not only causes cavities, but it can harm your gums as well. Your mouth will thank you for cutting out large portions of carbohydrates.

Instead, for a healthy mouth, try eating foods rich in protein, Vitamin D and calcium. All these are vital to the development and preservation of the teeth and jawbone. Calcium and phosphorous help to remineralize the outermost layer of teeth known as the enamel.

The enamel is the first defense against bacteria. Fortifying enamel will create a shield that protects the dentin and inner tissue of teeth. A diet rich in these vitamins and minerals is a smart one, so ditch the candy, pasta and soda for fish and leafy greens.

Reckless use

Your teeth are not meant to open a box or tear through plastic, so refrain from using them as a tool. The teeth are designed to crunch through food and break down edible matter into smaller particles. Your mouth is the first step in a long process of digestion, not a bottle opener.

In conclusion

To stop these oral health threats in their tracks, remember to brush thoroughly with a soft bristled brush twice daily (once in the morning and once at night). Use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel. Flossing once per day is also necessary, as food can get trapped in the space between teeth and cause tooth decay there.

And do not forget to visit a dental professional for routine cleanings!

Request an appointment here: or call Sonoran Desert Dentistry at (480) 439-0117 for an appointment in our Scottsdale office.

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