Oral health is a significant concern for everyone. It is estimated that by the time a person hits 50, he or she will have dental caries, a filled tooth, or even a missing tooth. Only about 5% will survive dental infections, which are the leading causes of poor oral health. The problem starts in childhood. Tooth infections are common among children and American adults. In children, a dental abscess is the most common affecting at least 50% of children above 11 years.
Most common tooth infections include:
- Dental caries
- Dental abscess
- Periodontal disease
What causes these infections? Here are the leading causes
Poor dental hygiene
Dental caries and dental abscess due to dental caries is a result of bacterial infection. Bacteria only survive when there is a conducive environment. If there is a poor environment, it succumbs or stays inactive. Immediately the environment favors its growth; it thrives again.
Poor dental hygiene leaves food particles in the mouth. Such substances, most of them starchy and sugary, create a perfect environment for bacterial growth and multiplication. As the bacteria grows, it ekes itself into the soft dental enamel. According to HolisticDentistryUSA, continued poor dental health allows the bacteria to develop a colony. It starts corroding the enamel causing dental caries and tooth discoloration. This often leads to the formation of a plaque near the foot of the tooth around the gum. The plaque causes further tooth degeneration, gum infection, and, eventually, tooth abscess.
If you have been in an accident or had untreated cavities resulting from tooth cracking or breakage, your teeth are exposed to bacteria. Teeth damage might not show immediately after the incident; it might take a while for the infection to develop inside the pulp of the tooth. If a tooth cracks, you will not even notice immediately. So, you are unlikely to take any measures to take care of the tooth.
Bacteria take advantage of this opening to hide so that even if you have good dental hygiene, you will not be able to clean inside minuscule cracks. Bacteria attack the sensitive pulp, causing tooth sensitivity and eventually, pain. It is commonly treated through a root canal. If the damage on the tooth is extensive, tooth replacement is advised.
Inside the mouth of a person, there is a parasite called Entamoeba gingivalis. It is otherwise harmless because it generally eats bacteria and food debris. When a plaque forms in your mouth, it creates a bacterial colony that makes this parasite to multiply to unhealthy levels where it starts attacking epithelial cells. Such an attack creates even more avenues for gum infections and bone attack leading to bone loss, loose teeth, and sometimes tooth loss. It is hard to distinguish the gingivitis from periodontal diseases, as all are part of the ecosystem causing all these problems.
Coxsackie virus is one of the viral infections responsible for canker sores, which causes lesions around the gum and in the mouth. This virus often attacks children and adults with weak immune systems, food allergies, hormonal fluctuations, mouth injury, and stress.
As seen above, dental hygiene can reduce the risk of infection significantly. Unfortunately, few people know enough about it. Brushing the teeth twice is recommended by dentists and dental hygienists, but people old brush only once in a day. Beyond brushing twice, flossing is also a requirement to remove food particles between teeth.
Most people decry that dental hygiene is too much work. The results have been devastating. For example, failing to brush before going to bed gives bacteria at least 8 hours of a field day in your mouth. Food particles left after eating will provide them with enough food to last them through the night. Even if you brush in the morning, the damage will already be done as bacteria often works when you are inactive.
At least brush twice—once before you sleep and again ones you wake up.
Dental infections often originate from bacterial infections. Such bacteria takes time before it can have visible symptoms on the tooth. Usually, they work in silence, but once the damage is done, it is hard to reverse it. Bacterial attack provides an ecosystem where parasites thrive, attacking your enamel, dentin, pulp, and bones. A damaged tooth gives bacteria and other infections an opening where they can ravage the flesh of the tooth, causing extreme pain and discomfort. However, you can avoid all that by practicing good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth daily and being faithful to check-ups is a good starting point.