6 of the Most Common Mouth & Dental Issues

According to the CDC, more than 40% of adults have felt some kind of mouth pain in the last year and roughly 80% will have at least one cavity by the time they are 34 years old. While in some cases unavoidable, most of the common dental health issues are preventable.

When it comes to your oral health, your hygiene is of utmost importance. Being consistent with your at home care and scheduling regular dental checkups are critical in preventing major dental issues. Still, there are other factors that can impact your dental health such as genetics, medications, diet and other factors.

Here’s a list of six of the most common mouth and dental health issues we see. 

Gum Disease

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection that damages gums and can destroy your jaw bone. Those with gum disease likely don’t floss enough or at all, causing buildup of plaque-causing bacteria. Periodontal disease can be treated by deep teeth cleanings performed by your dentist.

Tooth Decay

Failure to brush after large amounts of sugar or acidic foods and beverages can cause tooth decay and cavities. Cavities are treated by drilling away bacteria from the tooth and filling it with a composite material that matches the tooth’s appearance.

Oral Cancer

Usually presenting itself as a swollen or tingly red or white sore, oral cancer can target multiple places in the mouth, including your tongue, throat, lips or cheeks. Oral cancer is treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. 

Cleft Lip or Palate

Not a disease, but a developmental issue, cleft lip occurs when tissues in the upper lip don’t form completely at 6-9 weeks’ gestation. Surgery is performed within 18 months of birth to prevent future health issues. If it’s a severe case, a child may need to do speech therapy as well. 

Oral Thrush

A fungal infection that occurs in infants and those with reduced immunity, oral thrush presents itself as milky white lesions on the tongue and cheeks. A dentist treats oral thrush with antibiotics to kill the fungal spores, but oral thrush can be prevented with routine brushing and flossing. 

Bad Breath

A side effect of gingivitis or periodontitis, but can also be caused by smoking, bad dental hygiene and respiratory tract infections, bad breath can be treated by a strict dental hygiene routine and going to the dentist regularly.

The most important way to manage your dental health is to prevent issues before they happen. This is a combination of diet, oral hygiene and regular visits to a dentist. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we’re here to help. 

The Link Between Mental and Dental Health

The health of your mouth and teeth can have a drastic impact on your mental well-being and vice versa. Many don’t think about this, but there’s confidence and self-esteem associated with knowing you are taking good care of your mouth/teeth. The power of a smile is contagious, and when we feel good about our teeth, we smile more. But it’s also important to note that mental health can have an effect on your mouth as well.

How Your Teeth Affect Your Mental Health

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 36% of adults experienced anxiety because of the condition of their mouth and teeth in the last 12 months. That’s only anxiety; 40% feel embarrassed. Furthermore, 22% of young adults reduce participation in social activities due to the condition of their mouth and teeth. These negative views of teeth are impacting people’s ability to interview, hang out with friends and have caused them to find life less satisfying. 

How Mental Health Can Affect Your Teeth

Anxiety and depression can affect your oral health. From a biological standpoint, the stress anxiety and depression create increases the amount of the cortisol hormone in your body. As your cortisol levels increase, your immune system gets weaker leaving you more susceptible to gingivitis and gum disease. In addition, anxiety can lead to canker sores, dry mouth and teeth grinding while depression can cause you to forgo your oral care all together.

Anxiety and depression medications may also cause dry mouth. The lack of salvia means that food particles, plaque and bacteria aren’t naturally getting rinsed from your teeth and can increase your chance of cavities.

What You Can Do

Now that we know about the connection of oral and mental health, what can we do? If you’re experiencing anxiety or embarrassment from your mouth, seek dental help. Fifty-nine percent of people state cost as the main reason they don’t go to the dentist, but there are affordable ways to get help:

  • Find a dental school in your area; costs are much lower than private practices
  • Look for dental hygiene training programs for free or low-cost routine dental care
  • See if your community health center offers low-cost dental care
  • Check to see if your dentist offers a payment plan or financing option

If you’re suffering from anxiety and depression and it’s impacting your teeth, talk with your doctor or behavior therapist about stress management and coping skills. Be sure to keep your dentist in the loop, too. They can help you deal with the toll anxiety and depression take on your oral health by providing night guards to prevent grinding or prescription toothpaste for increased cavity prevention.


There is a real connection between oral and mental health. If you’re looking to fix your teeth, regardless if for cosmetic reasons or pain relief, contact our office today. We’re here to help you improve your oral health and increase your well-being.

How Dental Health Impacts Your Overall Health

Your mouth is full of both good and bad types of bacteria, with the majority being harmless to your health. However, did you know that your oral health and dental hygiene can have an impact on your overall health? In fact, studies have shown that some diseases and conditions can be linked to your dental health. 

Some types of mouth bacteria that causes gum inflammation associated with periodontist (gum disease) can play a role in other diseases. This kind of gum disease combined with other diseases like diabetes can weaken your body’s ability to fit infection, compounding the impact of oral health issues.

So what conditions are currently linked to oral health? And which conditions are linked to a negative impact on your oral health? According to Mayo Clinic, they include:

Diseases Linked to Dental Health

  • Cardiovascular disease is starting to be linked to oral bacteria that causes gum disease and inflammation. The connection is just beginning to be identified and is not completely understood at this time. 
  • Birth complications as a result of gum disease has been linked to children born at a low birth weight and premature births.
  • Endocarditis is an infection that impacts your heart and commonly is the result of germs and bacteria from the mouth (or another part of the body) spreading into the bloodstream and attaching to particular parts of the heart.
  • Pneumonia has been linked to certain oral bacteria being brought into the lungs.

Conditions that Negatively Impact Your Dental Health

  • Diabetes has been linked to gum disease. Research shows that those who have diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease. However, the good news is that additional research has found that regular mouth and gum care can actually improve the ability to control blood-sugar levels.
  • Alzheimer’s disease has been connected to a degradation of oral health, especially as the disease progresses over time. 
  • Osteoporosis is connected to bone loss and therefore, tooth loss. Additionally, some medications used to address osteoporosis also presents a risk of damaging bones in the jaw.
  • HIV/AIDS patients often experience various oral health issues like lesions of the mouth.

How To Protect Your Mouth & Your Health

The recommendation for those who have experienced any of these conditions and for those who haven’t, is the same: practice consistent and effective daily oral hygiene. This includes:

  • Brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Regular dental exams, cleanings and check-ups
  • A healthy diet that minimizes consumption of high-sugar foods/drinks
  • Flossing with regularity (daily)
  • Periodic use of fluoride mouth washes
  • Replacing old toothbrushes (3-6 months or as needed)
  • Avoiding tobacco use

If you’re concerned about your dental health and its impact on your overall health, make an appointment today and we’ll help you develop a plan for addressing your dental health concerns.