oral infections

7 Common Oral Infections

Cavities, gum disease, and other oral infections can cause serious damage when left untreated. Understanding what a mouth infection looks will ensure you’re able to seek treatment early on and prevent the infection from getting worse. At Lifetime Family Dental, we want to help you protect your mouth from infections and other dental problems. Continue reading to learn more about the common types of oral infections that can affect children and adults. 

What Causes a Mouth Infection?

Oral infections are caused by harmful bacteria that stick to the plaque on your teeth, which is why regular dental care is so important. The longer plaque stays on your teeth, the higher your chance of bacteria reaching and infecting the sensitive pulp of your teeth. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist twice a year all help eliminate plaque buildup in your mouth. 

Seven Common Types of Oral Infections

1: Cavities

The harmful bacteria in your mouth wear down your tooth enamel, forming tiny holes in your teeth called cavities or dental caries. Keeping up with dental appointments and thoroughly cleaning your teeth every day is the best way to protect your teeth from cavities. You should also eat a healthy diet, and avoid sticky, sugary, and acidic foods and drinks. 

2: Gum Disease

According to the CDC, 47.2% of adults over 30 have gum disease, which is a bacterial oral infection. Your risk of gum disease increases with age—around 70% of adults over 65 have periodontal disease, an advanced stage of gum disease. 

The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which is reversible with early treatment. The main symptom of gingivitis is swollen or inflamed gums that bleed easily. Without treatment, however, gingivitis can quickly advance to the more damaging stages of gum disease. Advanced gum disease causes severe gum recession, pockets between the gums and teeth that collect bacteria, and tooth loss. 

3: Canker Sores

A canker sore is a small lesion that develops on the inside of your lips or on your gums. Canker sores are not contagious, and do not form on the outside of your lips like a cold sore. In most cases, a canker sore will heal on its own within 10 to 14 days. You can prevent a canker sore by eating a healthy diet, reducing stress, and practicing good oral hygiene habits. 

4: Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

One common viral infection in children and toddlers is hand, food, and mouth disease. Luckily, it typically clears up within a few days. Symptoms include a sore throat, fever, and painful blisters that develop inside the mouth, on the palms, and on the soles of feet. Because this disease is extremely contagious, it’s important to regularly wash your hands and help your children wash their own hands to prevent catching or spreading the disease. 

5: Herpangina

Another infection that affects children is herpangina, which is related to hand, food, and mouth disease. The symptoms of both infections are similar, but herpangina also makes it difficult to swallow and causes small blisters to form at the back of the throat. These blisters can then form ulcers if they rupture. Usually, herpangina only lasts around three to five days. 

6: Thrush

An overgrowth of the fungus “Candida albicans” can cause oral thrush. If the healthy bacteria in your body become imbalanced, they can’t keep the fungus under control, and a thrush infection develops. Symptoms of thrush include white, raised bumps inside the mouth. Thrush can affect your inner cheeks, the roof of your mouth, your tongue, and the back of your mouth. 

7: Oral Herpes

Oral herpes is a common infection that is caused by the herpes simplex virus. You may experience flu-like symptoms, as well as blisters and ulcers on your gums and tongue. The blisters can rupture and leave scabs that last for several days without noticeable pain. In children, the infection can cause swollen gums and small blisters. However, in some cases, you may not even notice any symptoms of the infection. Once you are infected, the virus stays in your body permanently, but you can prevent and manage symptoms with medication. 

Oral Infection Treatment in Gilbert

If you notice any signs of bacterial or viral infections in your mouth, schedule a consultation with Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, Arizona. We’ll identify the cause of your symptoms and discuss your treatment options. Don’t forget that regular dental care can help prevent a variety of oral infections—if you’re due for a dental cleaning, please contact us right away. Call  480-558-4331 today to make an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/12/2022). Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels