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Oral Health Problems: Toothache and common oral diseases

Oral Health Problems: Toothache and common oral diseases

While we sometimes give more importance to the other parts of our wellbeing and health, taking care of our teeth and mouth is the one that has the most impact on our daily life. Any damage to our teeth and mouth leads to pain and loss in ability to eat and speak properly. Now, what are the most common of oral health problems?

Find out here!

Tooth Decay

Also referred to as cavities or caries, these are the cracks that eventually become holes that form in your teeth. However, before tooth decay becomes a cavity, it generally refers to the damage on the surface of your teeth. Imagine a layer of enamel protecting a tooth. This barrier is melted away by acids caused by bacteria which eats the sugars and starch in the mouth.


When left unchecked and untreated, tooth decay is bound to worsen, and when there are gaping holes in your teeth, they are now known as cavities. They are often caused by a variety of factors, such as bacteria and sugary residue left uncleaned. The symptoms can differ from person to person. But the most common signs that you may experience with tooth decay include:

  • Aching teeth that occur out of nowhere
  • Sensitive teeth, especially when biting or eating
  • Sharp pains when eating or drinking hot and/or cold food and beverages
  • Black/brown discoloration of the normally white tooth

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth, on the one hand, is another sign of tooth decay and its worsening condition. Apart from enamel, which shields the crowns of your teeth, there also exists a layer of cementum under the gum line.

The cementum keeps the tooth root safe, and beneath both the cementum and enamel is dentin, which is much less dense than the aforementioned layers. When dentin, which has microscopic tubules, is no longer covered by enamel and cementum, the nerves inside the teeth can now be reached by hot, cold, and acidic foods and beverages. This bypassing of protective layers leads to hypersensitivity.

Dental Plaque

As mentioned earlier, plaque causes harmful bacteria to form on your teeth, and when ignored, it can harden, become tartar, and lead to even more tooth decay. A layer of sticky substance that forms when the mouth has too much sugar and starch, dental plaque is among the more common oral health problems we all experience.

Brushing and flossing your teeth daily, along with observing proper oral hygiene, can help prevent and treat dental plaque.

Impacted Teeth

An impacted tooth refers to teeth that stay under and do not grow out of the gums. As we age, our teeth gradually emerge. First, during infancy, and then once again when our permanent teeth come out to replace the baby teeth. The last batch of teeth to emerge are the third molars, often referred to as wisdom teeth. When these teeth fail to emerge, or only do so partially, they are considered to be impacted.

There are different reasons that can cause an impacted tooth, and while painless and fairly commonplace, an impacted tooth that keeps trying to emerge can push your other teeth out of place. This can lead to a misaligned bite, among other complications.


When tooth decay and cavities worsen, it can develop into pulpitis. This disease refers to an inflamed dental pulp tissue, which is caused by irritation and infection of the dental pulp – the innermost layer of a tooth, after the enamel and dentin. There are different types of pulpitis:

  • Irreversible and Reversible Pulpitis. The inflammation in the dental pulp is so bad that the tooth can no longer be saved. In the case of reversible pulpitis, the tooth can still be saved.
  • Acute and Chronic Pulpitis. An intense and spontaneous pain versus a duller but prolonged pain in the tooth

Teeth Discoloration

Discoloration in the teeth is often caused by a variety of reasons, such as lifestyle choices. Here are some of the more common causes:

  • Drinking too much coffee, soda, and other acidic drinks can affect the development of enamel in the teeth
  • Tobacco use, such as smoking or chewing, can stain the teeth
  • Subscribing to poor dental hygiene, like skipping on brushing and flossing, can cause plaque and the eventual darkening of the teeth
  • Frequent use of specific medications, such as antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline in children below eight years, can cause discoloration in the teeth

Given these common oral health problems, an occasional visit to your dentist for a check-up is always a good idea. By observing basic oral hygiene every day you can minimize the damage to your teeth and keep them white and strong.

Learn more about Oral Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


History of Dentistry, https://www.adea.org/GoDental/Health_Professions_Advisors/History_of_Dentistry.aspx, Accessed Feb 2, 2021

Tooth Decay, https://medlineplus.gov/toothdecay.html, Accessed Feb 2, 2021

Cavities/tooth decay, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cavities/symptoms-causes/syc-20352892, Accessed Feb 2, 2021

Sensitive Teeth, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sensitive-teeth, Accessed Feb 2, 2021

Dental Plaque, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10953-plaque, Accessed Feb 2, 2021

Impacted tooth, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001057.htm, Accessed Feb 2, 2021

Pulpitis Pain: What Causes Pulpitis? Symptoms, Pain Relief, Treatment, https://www.dentaly.org/en/pulpitis/, Accessed Feb 2, 2021

Tooth Discoloration, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10958-tooth-discoloration, Accessed Feb 2, 2021

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Written by pocholo torres Updated Jun 23
Medically reviewed by Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc