Common Dental Challenges

8 Most Common Dental Challenges


Our mouths are a breeding ground for bacteria, both good and bad.  Some of the most common dental challenges can be prevented.

Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating a healthy diet, and regular dental check-ups.  It also helps to be educated on the most common dental challenges and ways to try and prevent these common problems.

We have identified some of the most common dental challenges people face today.

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8 Common Dental Challenges

Bad Breathe

Bad breath is a common dental challenge and can be caused by 4 main components.  Poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, tobacco, and white tongue.

Poor oral hygiene

If you do not have good oral care, food particles remain in and on your teeth. This results in odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.

Dry mouth

Saliva keeps the soft tissues of your mouth moist and washes food particles and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth. A lack of saliva prevents your mouth’s ability to remove excess food particles. These particles can cause bad breath.


Smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products leaves a bad smell in your mouth. These can also cause dry mouth.

White tongue

Certain conditions like sinusitis or a postnasal drip can leave a film on the tongue that causes bad breath.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs from eating sugary and starchy foods and not having good oral health care routine. If your teeth are not brushed and flossed daily, bacteria create a layer of plaque that builds up on your tooth and around your gums.

These bacteria feed on the sugars and starches in the foods you eat to release acids that erode your tooth enamel.

Brushing and flossing are paramount in preventing tooth decay.  So long as these bacteria are removed daily and you’re getting your teeth professionally cleaned at least 2x year, chances are you won’t develop tooth decay.

Gum Disease

Bacteria in the mouth can infect tissue surrounding our teeth, causing inflammation and redness around the tooth leading to periodontal (gum) disease.

When bacteria stay on the teeth long enough, they form a film called plaque biofilm, which eventually hardens to tartar (calculus). Calculus then spreads below the gum line and out of reach for you to properly clean at home.

At this point, only a dental professional can remove the calculus and treat the periodontal disease.

Here are just a few risk factors of periodontal disease.

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Stress
  • Heredity
  • Crooked teeth

Mouth Sores

Canker sores also called aphthous ulcers, are small, painful sores that appear inside the mouth on the lips, cheeks, on gums, and tongue.

There are no known causes of canker sores, but we know they’re not contagious and can’t be spread through saliva.

They can be the result of an injury, like when you accidentally bite your cheek or when braces catch or rub against the inside of the cheeks or back of the lips, but most of the time they appear seemingly out of nowhere.

Here are just a few known “triggers” of cold sores:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal shifts (menstrual cycles),
  • Sensitivity to chocolate, nuts, cheese, or spicy or acidic foods

floss and brush daily

Tooth Erosion

Dental erosion is the gradual loss of the outer surface of your teeth due to acids from the foods you eat and drink.

These acids can also soften the tooth surface, making it easier for them to be worn away by abrasion or tooth grinding. Stomach acids can also cause dental erosion

The stomach contains many strong acids that can cause damage to the teeth. Vomiting and reflux cause these stomach acids to enter your mouth.

Here are just a few examples of health conditions that cause stomach acids to enter or mouths:

  • Bulimia
  • Morning Sickness
  • Acid Reflux
  • Eating acidic foods for prolonged periods of time

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is another very common dental challenge we are talking about.  It can be caused by a variety of things including worn tooth enamel from using a hard toothbrush and brushing aggressively, tooth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages.

Tooth decay, worn, leaky fillings, and broken teeth expose the dentin of your tooth. It can also be caused by gum recession that leaves your root surface exposed.


Not all toothaches mean that you have a cavity and not all cavities cause a toothache.  Confused? It could be a little confusing and we’re here to help!

Tooth Sensitivity

If you experience sharp pains when eating or drinking foods and liquids with extreme temperatures, for example, it could mean you have a cavity. But it may also be a sign that you have sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the inner layer of your tooth, known as dentin, becomes exposed. This type of toothache occurs even when there’s no cavity to find. Dentin usually becomes exposed when there’s a wearing away of enamel or gum recession.

These things can occur because of overbrushing, trauma, gum disease, etc.

Some Toothaches Are More Severe than others

If you have sharp tooth pain when you bite down, the cause could be a cracked tooth. If you have throbbing pain that is constant, you may have an infection.

You should see us right away about this issue. This is because if your tooth has an infection it has the potential to spread to the rest of your body.

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Maintaining Optimal Health

Overall, some of these most common dental challenges can be avoided or lessened if you maintain optimal oral health.  Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, have regular dental visits, and not smoking. With any questions or concerns always contact your provider.

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Sala Family Dentistry
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Welcome to Sala Family Dentistry where we have been serving our community since 1974. Growing up we remember our dad, Dr. Mike coming home from a day at the office happy. As children, we did not know the positive effect this would have and naturally the two of us, Drs. Jason and Todd wanted to find something that would make us happy as well. We both found it through dentistry.

Yes, we geek out on the details of dentistry, which serves our patients exceptionally well, but that was not what would ultimately satisfy our happy desire. We both wanted something more, we wanted an extended family where our patients and team members become family. The beauty of dentistry is that we get to go through life with our patients, we get to grow up and old with you. It is through these relationships that we have developed an office-wide treatment philosophy of being “Caring People, Caring for People.”

If you are a patient or team member, you know this already, and if you are not yet part of our extended family, we welcome you to come in and experience a happy, positive, and caring dental environment.