Tooth decay, Gum disease, Sensitive teeth, Mouth ulcers, and Bad breath are all common problems relating to oral health.

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria on the tooth builds up and develops into plaques. The bacteria then produce acid that starts to break down the coating of the tooth, causing holes to appear. This can cause inflammation inside the tooth which can lead to an abscess.
The risk of tooth decay is decreased by brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day as well as avoiding sugary food and drinks.
A build-up of plaque on the tooth can also cause Gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease where the gums become inflamed. A classic sign of Gingivitis is the bleeding of the gums when brushing.
If Gingivitis is left untreated, it can result in a more serious type of gum disease called Periodontitis. This type of gum disease can lead to the inflammation of the tissues that join the gum and tooth and may even affect the jawbone. Symptoms of periodontitis can include bleeding gums and pockets between the teeth and gums that may produce pus.
Removing plaque with regular brushing and flossing will reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease. Some toothpastes and mouthwashes also contain an antibacterial that will help reduce bacterial growth. E.g. Corsodyl.

Sensitive teeth are a common problem in which you may experience mild discomfort or sharp pain when eating or drinking something cold. This can be caused by tooth abrasion, dental erosion, receding gums or gum disease. Anyone with sensitive teeth should speak to a dentist as it may be a sign of a more serious problem. However, using a softer toothbrush and a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth may help.

Bad breath (halitosis) is usually caused by gases released by bacteria on the teeth and gums.
Smoking, having a dry mouth and other stomach conditions may also cause bad breath.
Good oral hygiene is essential to prevent bad breath. If bad breath is caused by having a dry mouth, a gel or spray that mimics saliva may help, as well as some mouthwashes E.g. Biotene and Biotene moisturising mouthwash.

Mouth ulcers can appear inside the cheeks, on the gums, tongue and roof of the mouth. They can appear as small and painful lumps and make eating difficult. It can be caused by direct damage to the tongue or inside of the cheek, or by irritation from a sharp or badly fitted denture. The causes of other mouth ulcers are still unknown; however, they may be linked to stress, sensitivity to certain foods, or vitamin deficiency.
Ulcers will heal on their own, but you can numb the pain by using topical anaesthetics such as lidocaine (e.g. Anbesol gel, Medijel gel, or Orajel mouth gel). Choline Salicylate (Bonjela) can also be used to relieve pain.
Antibacterial mouthwashes (e.g. Corsodyl) can be used to relieve pain and prevent traumatic ulcers from becoming infected.
Before buying any of these items, make sure you read the patient information leaflet to see if it is suitable for you.

Cold sores are small lesions that usually appear on the edges of the lip, caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus. They usually start with a tingling or burning sensation and can last a couple days before it turns red and develops into a blister which may weep and be painful. The virus is contained within the fluid inside the blister and therefore it can spread to other people, so it is important to avoid kissing or skin contact and to not share the same products with people.
Antiviral creams such as aciclovir and penciclovir can be used to stop the virus from growing. They can speed the healing process and prevent blisters from forming. E.g. Zovirax, Fenistil.
Patches such as Compeed can help soothe and heal cold sores and prevent the virus from spreading by forming a seal around the cold sore. They can be used at any stage; however, they are most effective during the tingling stage.


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