The 5 Most Common Oral Health Diseases | Symptoms & Treatment

The 5 Most Common Oral Health Diseases | Symptoms & Treatment

According to WHO, around 3.5 billion people around the world experience oral health diseases (that's close to 50% of the world's population). Let's see what the most common Oral Health Diseases are.


Every year, more than 10 million Indians develop cavities. When you have plaque buildup in your teeth and you eat something sugary on top of that, the bacteria in the plaque combines with the sugar to produce enamel-destroying acid. This can permanently damage your teeth and cause tiny holes in them. This is also called dental caries. If left unaddressed, the cavities can grow larger and begin to affect the deeper layers of your teeth, progressing into toothache, infection, and ultimately, tooth loss.


  • Toothache; sudden spontaneous pain
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Mild to sharp pain when consuming sweet/hot/cold food or drinks
  • Brown/black/white staining on teeth
  • Pain when you bite down
  • Visible holes or pits in teeth


Cavities are treated using fluoride, fillings, crowns, or even root canals or removals in severe cases.

2. Diseases of the gum

One of the most common oral diseases is gum disease, also called periodontal disease or periodontitis. When bacteria in plaque build-up, they release acid that attacks the enamel and causes decay. This plaque hardens into tartar in 72 hours and runs along the gum line making it harder to clean your teeth. This irritates and inflames the gums, and they easily bleed when brushing your teeth. As this worsens, the gums pull away from the teeth forming pockets. This indicates periodontitis.


  • Swollen, red/purplish gums
  • Gums bleed easily
  • Gums tender to touch
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding when brushing teeth


If you have gum disease, the infection can be controlled by deep cleaning, medication, antibiotics, enzyme suppressants, gum graft surgery, or flap surgery.

3.Oral Cancers

In India, every year, around 77,000 people get oral cancer, and 52,000 others die. This cancer usually affects the tongue, tonsils, gums, and oropharynx. This can happen because of heavy alcohol and/or tobacco use. And while an early diagnosis is important, symptoms don't always show up in early stages. That's why regular checkups are important. 


  • A mouth or lip sore that doesn't heal
  • A lump in your mouth
  • A white or red patch in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Painful swallowing, persistent mouth pain, or ear pain


Oral cancer is treated by surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy- individual treatments or a combination. Although, the treatment largely depends on the type and stage of cancer when detected.

4.Mouth Injury Trauma

According to WHO, roughly 20% people will go through some kind of trauma to their teeth in their lifetime, whether it's due to accidents, risk-taking, sports injuries, or violence. This is why whenever you are willingly entering a risky situation, you should wear a mouthguard and a helmet. Injury can also occur because of chemical or thermal trauma. Injury can also happen when you bite down on hard or hot food, accidentally bite yourself, or brush rigorously.


It is important to get immediate medical care if an injury happens because the longer you wait, the fewer options you have. Regardless, depending on the type, time, and seriousness of injury, you may require multiple surgeries, and it can end up being costly. Occasionally, there may also be complications to your face.

5.Infectious Diseases

One of the most known infectious oral diseases is the Oral Herpes, caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1). This frequently happens in 6 month old to 5 year old children, and shows up as cold sores or fever blisters on your lips, under your tongue, and in the soft tissues inside your cheeks. This often causes painful gums and ulcers in the child's mouth (gingivostomatitis).

This is a highly contagious virus that you can catch by skin-to-skin contact, or contact with an infected person's saliva or infected objects. Once a child is infected with this virus, it sleeps in his skin for life, causing cold sores whenever it wakes up. In fact, between 50% and 80% of adults live with this virus in their bodies- whether dormant or active. Even if you didn't get this as a kid, you can still get this now by direct contact with an infected person. And if you are HIV-positive, you become more susceptible to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.


  • Painful, fluid-filled blisters on the lips or under the nose
  • Initial redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat, pain, or itching
  • Fever
  • Bodyache, headache
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite

Although sometimes, this virus doesn’t cause any symptoms.


A cure hasn't been found yet for HSV-1, but symptoms can be managed with:

  • Medication
  • Home remedies like warm/cold compresses, aloe vera, tea tree/eucalyptus/peppermint oil, a paste of baking soda/cornstarch and water, or a mix of crushed garlic and olive oil.

While accidents and other things may still happen, good oral hygiene still helps prevent many oral diseases. It is also important to avoid harmful behaviors and schedule regular dental checkups.


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