Dental and oral health is an essential part of your overall health and well-being. Poor oral hygiene can lead to dental cavities and gum disease, and has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment. The earlier you learn proper oral hygiene habits — such as brushing, flossing, and limiting your sugar intake — the easier it’ll be to avoid costly dental procedures and long-term health issues.





Symptoms of dental and oral problems
You shouldn’t wait until you have symptoms to visit your dentist. Going to the dentist twice a year will usually allow them to catch a problem before you even notice any symptoms.
If you experience any of the following warning signs of dental health issues, you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible:
ulcers, sores, or tender areas in the mouth that won’t heal after a week or two
bleeding or swollen gums after brushing or flossing
chronic bad breath
sudden sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or beverages
pain or toothache
loose teeth
receding gums
pain with chewing or biting
swelling of the face and cheek
clicking of the jaw
cracked or broken teeth
frequent dry mouth








Types of dental and oral diseases
We use our teeth and mouths for a lot, so it’s not surprising how many things can go wrong over time, especially if you don’t take proper care of your teeth. Most dental and oral problems can be prevented with proper oral hygiene. You’ll likely experience at least one dental problem during your lifetime.







- Cavities


- Sensitive teeth


- Cracked or broken teeth


- Gum disease





Cavities are also called caries or tooth decay. These are areas of the tooth that have been permanently damaged and may even have holes in them. Cavities are fairly common. They occur when bacteria, food, and acid coat your teeth and form a plaque. The acid on your teeth starts to eat away at the enamel and then the underlying dentin, or connective tissue. Over time, this can lead to permanent damage.





Sensitive teeth
If your teeth are sensitive, you might feel pain or discomfort after having cold or hot foods or beverages. 
Tooth sensitivity is also referred to as “dentin hypersensitivity.” It sometimes occurs temporarily after having a root canal or a filling. It can also be the result of:
gum disease
receding gums
a cracked tooth
worn-down fillings or crowns








Cracked or broken teeth A tooth
can crack or break from an injury to the mouth, chewing hard foods, or grinding the teeth at night. A cracked tooth can be very painful. You should visit your dentist right away if you’ve cracked or broken a tooth.





Gum disease (gingivitis)
Gum disease, also called gingivitis, is inflammation of the gums. It’s usually the result of plaque building up on your teeth due to poor brushing and flossing habits. Gingivitis can make your gums swell and bleed when you brush or floss. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious infection. 
As periodontitis progresses, the infection can spread to your jaw and bones. It can also cause an inflammatory response throughout the body.
What can go wrong?
Periodontal disease can eventually break down the bone that supports your teeth. This can lead to many complications. You’ll likely need dental treatment to save your teeth. Risks and complications of untreated periodontal disease include:
- tooth abscesses 
- other infections
- migration of your teeth
- pregnancy complications
- exposure of the roots of your teeth
- oral cancer
- tooth loss
- increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases
If left untreated, an infection from a tooth abscess can spread to other parts of your head or neck. It can even lead to sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection.





The link between oral and general health 
Oral health has risen in importance in recent years, as researchers have discovered a connection between declining oral health and underlying systemic conditions. It turns out that a healthy mouth can help you maintain a healthy body. According to the Mayo Clinic, oral bacteria and inflammation may be associated with:
- heart disease
- endocarditis, or inflammation of the lining of the heart
- premature birth
- low birth weight
Bacteria can spread from your oral cavity to your bloodstream, causing infective endocarditis. Infective endocarditis is a life-threatening infection of your heart valves. Your dentist may suggest you take antibiotics as a preventive measure before they perform any dental procedure that could dislodge bacteria in your mouth.