Dental problems and oral health care

The thought of dental problems — and terms like “root canal,” “gum disease” and “wisdom teeth” — might make us feel a little uncomfortable. But when dental and oral health problems come up, it’s important to take care of them right away. And the good news is that good oral care may help prevent some major problems.

Common dental problems

Understanding common dental problems may help you prevent them — through good oral hygiene or by recognizing them early.

Caring for your teeth is caring for yourself

According to the World Health Organization, oral health is part of your overall health.12 You can prevent many dental problems with good oral hygiene, which can include:13

  • Brushing teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. This helps remove dental plaque, a colorless bacteria that sticks to your teeth. Brush gently using small circles, making sure to brush all sides of each tooth and angle the bristles of your toothbrush between the tooth and gum. Don’t forget to brush your tongue.
  • Flossing once a day to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth. You can use regular dental floss or tools such as a floss holder, a plastic pick from your dentist’s office, or a water flosser.
  • Visiting your dentist at least once a year. Ask your dentist about the right frequency of visits for you, and about getting fluoride treatment, especially if you have a dry mouth.
  • Not smoking. Smoking increases your risk of gum disease.
  • Drinking fluorinated water. The right amount of fluoride helps protect your teeth against bacteria to keep them strong and healthy.

Dental problems can be serious, but they’re often easy to prevent. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you get early treatment. If you have questions about your oral health, talk to your dentist.

Looking for a dental plan?

Having a dental insurance plan may help you stay on track with regular dental visits.