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6 Common Oral Conditions That Go Untreated

Female dentist examining a female patient

Recognizing Undiagnosed Oral Conditions

It's no secret that oral health is essential to living a healthy, happy life. Maintaining good oral hygiene prevents bad breath, helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and lowers your risk of serious medical conditions. However, several common oral conditions often go untreated and can lead to poor oral health and overall wellness.

Here are six of the most common oral conditions that go untreated and why you should see a dentist if you think you may have one:

1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health problems, yet it is also preventable. When tooth decay is left untreated, it can lead to more severe problems such as tooth loss or infection. Signs of tooth decay include:

  • Black, brown, or white spots on the teeth.
  • Holes in the teeth.
  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
  • Pain when biting or chewing.

If you notice any of these signs, it's essential to see a dentist quickly. Early treatment can help prevent the decay from worsening and causing more serious oral health problems and chronic medical conditions. Untreated tooth decay can lead to:

  • Cavities
  • Infections
  • Tooth loss
  • Abscesses

These problems can be painful and costly to treat. They can also cause other oral health problems, like gum disease.

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease is another common oral condition that often goes untreated. If left untreated, gum disease can progress into periodontal disease and lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer

According to the CDC, nearly one-third of adults aged 65 and over have untreated tooth decay, and more than half of adults aged 20-64 have periodontal gum disease. Common signs of gum disease include swollen gums that bleed when brushed and sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks. To read more about the various stages of gum disease and its symptoms, click here.

3. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a severe condition that can be fatal if left untreated. Early detection is key to successful treatment, yet the condition commonly goes undiagnosed.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, fewer than 15%-25% of those who regularly visit their dentist receive an oral cancer screening, yet one person dies from oral cancer every hour.

Common signs of oral cancer include:

  • Sores that won't heal and bleed easily.
  • Lumps or thickening in the cheeks.
  • White or red patches on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth.
  • Persistent hoarseness, difficulty swallowing.

At ProHEALTH Dental, we perform a comprehensive oral cancer examination. We use enhanced light transmission assisted visual inspection with Identafi® and bi-digital palpation to reveal potential cancerous oral lesions.

4. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common oral condition that often goes untreated. It can be caused by certain medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices. Dry mouth can lead to other oral health problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Common signs of dry mouth include:

  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth.
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
  • Sores in the mouth or on the tongue.
  • Cracked lips.
  • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth.
  • Bad breath.

5. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common chronic condition that causes patients to experience intermittent pauses in breathing and is often associated with loud snoring. Because these pauses in breathing are brief, many patients live with undiagnosed sleep apnea.

Many patients assume that a diagnosis can help prevent snoring and get a better night's sleep — but discovering you have sleep apnea and seeking treatment protects your health. Sleep apnea can have severe consequences like high blood pressure and an increased risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, recurrent heart attacks, strokes, depression, weight gain, and abnormal heartbeats.

6. Bruxism

Bruxism occurs in patients who clench their jaw and grind their teeth. This condition is most commonly caused by stress and anxiety, and because most teeth grinding occurs involuntarily at night, many patients are unaware that they are doing it. Common telltale symptoms include a dull headache upon waking up alongside jaw pain or soreness.

Chronic bruxism can be harmful to your teeth, as frequent grinding can cause chips and fractures in your teeth. Over time, this leads to teeth loosening or the need for an extraction — which can put you at risk for developing further chronic medical issues and oral conditions such as temporomandibular disorders (TMJ syndrome).

Book Your Next Appointment at ProHEALTH Dental Today

Preventative dental care and an excellent oral hygiene routine can help protect both your teeth and your gums and your overall health. At ProHEALTH Dental, our mission is to provide services and education to patients regarding the critical importance of proper oral health care and its impact on their overall health.

If you think you may have one of these common oral conditions, it is vital to see a dentist for an evaluation and treatment. Book your dental next check-up today: (855) 750-5011