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Common Oral Conditions in Adults

Common Oral Conditions in Adults

In order to effectively manage your oral health, it is important to first understand the common oral health issues that adults typically experience. Continue reading to learn about the common oral conditions in adults.

Gum Disease

Gum disease - clinically known as periodontitis - is one of the most common oral conditions that adults face. 

Gum disease is a chronic infection of the gum tissue. It develops due to a lack of proper dental hygiene that leads to the growth and development of harmful bacteria both above and below the gum line. 

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
  • Pain, bleeding, or swelling in the gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of stroke

The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis, a mild infection of the gum tissues. Gingivitis can be reversed with timely clinical intervention, but if it is allowed to progress without treatment, it will eventually develop into gum disease. Gum disease is not reversible, but it can be prevented from progressing with proper treatment from your dentist and dental hygienist. 

Oral Cancer

Nearly 450,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Oral cancer can be caused by:

  • Using tobacco products
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Hereditary factors 
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)

Oral cancer can be identified by the following symptoms:

  • Sores that do not heal on their own
  • White or red patches or sores that develop on the gums, tongue, tonsils, or cheek
  • The trouble with swallowing, talking, or chewing
  • Considerable pain in the mouth that does not go away
  • Lumps in the mouth or neck

To test for the presence of oral cancer, your dental professional will conduct an oral cancer screening. This can be done by using one of the following methods:

  • A blue light will be passed through the mouth. Spots of concern will be brightly illuminated for the dentist to examine.
  • A sample of tissue (known as a biopsy) will be taken from the mouth and tested for the presence of oral cancer.
  • A specialised mouthwash will be used to help signify areas of concern.

If there is evidence of oral cancer in the mouth, you will be referred to a specialist for treatment. It is always best to catch oral cancer early; this is why it is crucial to attend your regularly scheduled oral cancer screenings. 

If your dentist has recommended that you undergo an oral cancer screening, this doesn’t mean that there is reason to fear; he or she simply wants to help you maintain your oral and overall health.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs when harmful acids or bacterias penetrate the tooth’s protective layer of enamel. Symptoms of tooth decay include:

  • Sensitivity (especially to hot and cold food and drinks)
  • Toothache (may either be constant or will come and go)
  • Holes or dark spots in teeth
  • Pain when biting or chewing

Causes of tooth decay include:

  • Poor home care
  • Failure to attend professional cleaning appointments
  • Poor diet (high in sugars and acidic foods)
  • Inadequate fluoride intake
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Side effects of prescription medications
  • Chronic dry mouth (xerostomia)

If treatment is not administered, it is likely that the decay will worsen, and the patient will face the risk of infection. The patient may also face eventual tooth loss if the decay is allowed to progress.

Regular home care - in conjunction with your professional dental cleanings - is the best way to ensure that your teeth are protected from decay. Be sure to brush and floss twice daily, brushing for a complete two minutes each time you brush. Also, ensure that you are using a toothpaste that contains fluoride; fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to strengthen and protect the enamel.

It’s also ideal to maintain a ‘tooth-friendly diet - one that is rich in nutrients and vitamins. Teeth-friendly foods include dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. It is also in your best interest to avoid beverages and foods that are high in acids or sugars, such as candies and sodas, as these foods can be extremely harmful to your teeth.

During your check-up and cleaning appointments, your dentist and dental hygienist will ensure that all plaque and tartar are removed from the surface of the teeth. They will then examine the teeth to ensure that there are no signs of damage or decay. Necessary treatment will be planned if any signs of damage are found.  

Tooth decay is usually treated successfully with a filling, during which your dental professional will remove all signs of decay from the tooth before filling it with a synthetic material to ensure its longevity and durability. 

In years past, the only option was amalgam fillings - commonly known as ‘silver fillings. While these types of fillings are extremely durable, they are a bit unsightly. Thankfully, patients now have the option to fill their teeth with a tooth-colored composite material.

Advanced cases of decay - in which the central nerve of the tooth is damaged or exposed - usually call for a root canal to restore the tooth. During a root canal, the dentist will remove all damaged or decayed tooth structures, remove the central nerve, clean and sterilize the tooth, and finally place a synthetic material inside the tooth before building it back up with a large filling. The tooth is then covered with a dental crown to ensure that it will remain protected from further damage or decay.


FY Smile: Your Local Dentist in Double Bay, Sydney.

If you’re in the Double Bay area and searching for the “best dentist near me”, search no longer. For the most comprehensive general and cosmetic dentistry in Sydney, put your trust in FY Smile.

Your journey towards the beautiful smile of your dreams starts here. FY Smile is proud to operate as an official Digital Smile Design clinic; our team of experts will work with you to design a beautiful smile that naturally complements your features and provides you with priceless confidence.

For more information about dental treatment in Sydney or to make an appointment at our Double Bay dental office, give us a call anytime at 02 8319 5557.