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Published on June 17, 2023

Top 5 Dental Issues Linked to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination and How to Address Them

Between the 1950s and 1980s, the water source at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina, was contaminated with harmful chemicals. These chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and benzene, have since been linked to a number of health problems, including various dental issues.

In this article, we will explore the top dental issues linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination and provide advice on how to address them.

1. Tooth Enamel Erosion

One of the primary dental issues resulting from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is tooth enamel erosion. This condition occurs when the outer layer of the tooth—the enamel—wears away, exposing the softer dentin underneath. This can lead to tooth sensitivity, pain, and an increased risk of cavities.

To address tooth enamel erosion, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using a fluoride mouthwash. Additionally, you may want to consider using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth, which can help to minimize discomfort. Visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings is also crucial in managing tooth enamel erosion and preventing further damage.

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is another dental issue that has been linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination. This condition occurs when bacteria accumulate in the spaces between the teeth and gums, leading to inflammation, bleeding, and eventually, the breakdown of gum tissue and bone. If left untreated, gum disease can result in tooth loss and other serious health problems.

To address gum disease, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. Additionally, you should visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings, as professional cleanings can help to remove plaque and tartar that contribute to gum disease. In more severe cases, your dentist may recommend specialized periodontal treatments, such as scaling and root planing or surgical intervention.

3. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, or cavities, are another dental issue that can be linked to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The chemicals present in the water can cause the protective enamel on the teeth to weaken, making them more susceptible to decay.

To address tooth decay, it’s important to maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine, including brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are also essential for preventing and detecting tooth decay early. If a cavity is detected, your dentist will likely recommend a filling or other restorative treatment.

4. Oral Cancer

The contamination of Camp Lejeune’s water supply has also been linked to an increased risk of oral cancer. Oral cancer can manifest as a sore or lesion in the mouth that doesn’t heal, difficulty swallowing or chewing, or a persistent pain in the mouth or throat.

To address the risk of oral cancer, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist can perform an oral cancer screening during these visits, which can help to detect any signs of the disease early, when treatment is most effective. If you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, such as sores or lumps, be sure to contact your dentist as soon as possible for evaluation.

5. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a condition that affects the joints that connect the jaw to the skull. It can cause pain, difficulty chewing, and clicking or locking of the jaw. Although the exact cause of TMJ is often unclear, the chemicals present in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may contribute to the development of this condition.

To address TMJ, it’s important to consult with your dentist, who may recommend a variety of treatments depending on the severity of your symptoms. These may include pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or the use of a mouth guard to prevent clenching or grinding of the teeth. In more severe cases, your dentist may recommend physical therapy, injections, or even surgery to alleviate TMJ symptoms.

Conclusion

The dental issues linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination can have a significant impact on your oral health and overall well-being. However, by maintaining good oral hygiene habits, visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings, and seeking prompt treatment for any dental concerns, you can help to mitigate these issues and maintain a healthy smile. If you believe that you or a loved one may be experiencing dental problems related to Camp Lejeune water contamination, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified dental professional, such as those at Adley Law Firm, for guidance and support. You can reach them at (713) 999-8669.


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