Skip to content

Oral Care

Other Oral Problems

Font Size
A
A
A

Find information about other dental problems such as bad breath, tonsil troubles, canker sores, and more.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious odors or gases that smell like sulfur -- or worse.

Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems.

Do you know what causes your bad breath? WebMD quizzes you about bad breath, its causes and prevention, good dental hygiene, and diseases that give you bad breath.

Dry Mouth

We all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food. Saliva also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth. When we don't produce enough saliva, our mouth gets dry and uncomfortable.

Dry mouth is more than just feeling thirsty. It affects your overall health. WebMD looks at the causes and symptoms of dry mouth, plus ways to treat it.

Tonsils and Glands

Your salivary glands produce as much as a quart of saliva each day. Saliva is important to lubricate your mouth, help with swallowing, protect your teeth against bacteria, and aid in the digestion of food.

A salivary gland stone -- also called salivary duct stone, salivary calculus, or sialolith -- is a calcified structure that may form inside a salivary gland or duct and can block the flow of saliva into the mouth.  

Your tonsils are filled with nooks and crannies where bacteria and other materials, including dead cells and mucous, can become trapped. When this occurs, the debris can become concentrated in white formations that occur in the pockets.

Sometimes the tonsils become infected. Overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses, they swell and become inflamed, a condition known as tonsillitis.

A peritonsillar abscess forms in the tissues of the throat next to one of the tonsils. An abscess is a collection of pus that forms near an area of infected skin or other soft tissue.

Canker and Cold Sores

The exact cause of most canker sores is unknown. Stress or tissue injury is thought to be the cause of simple canker sores.

Cold sores -- also called fever blisters -- are a painful infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

Other

Thrush can affect anyone, though it occurs most often in babies and toddlers, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

Wonder if your painful sore throat is from a cold, strep throat, or tonsillitis? Here's help with how to tell.

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are often incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for  temporomandibular joint.

Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat), can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

Generally speaking, medicines are designed to make you feel better. But all drugs, whether taken by mouth or injected, come with a risk of side effects, and hundreds of drugs are known to cause mouth (oral) problems.

Clefting results when there is not enough tissue in the mouth or lip area, and the tissue that is available does not join together properly.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Never
(0)
Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

close up of woman sticking out tongue
Sores, discoloration, bumps and more.
toothbrushes
10 secrets to a brighter smile.
 
Veneer smile
Before and after.
Woman checking her bite in mirror
Why dental care is important.
 

Woman dissatisfied with granola bar
Slideshow
woman with jaw pain
Quiz
 
eroded front teeth
Slideshow
brushing teeth
Video
 

Variety shades of tea
Slideshow
mouth and dental instruments
Article
 
Closeup of a happy young guy brushing his teeth
Tool
womans smile
Video