Preventative Care Tips:
The best predictor for dental health is good preventative care. Good preventative care starts by visiting the dentist every 6 months for your cleaning and tooth check. By having regular dental visits any minor change in your teeth can be addressed right away before you need any major dental work.
What should you do in between visits?
- Make sure you are brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and replace your tooth brush every 3 months
- Floss at least once a day to get rid of food debris or plaque in between your teeth
- Use a tongue scraper to keep halitosis at bay
- Avoid frequent snacking. Bacteria will thrive with this constant sugar exposure
- Drink water in lieu of sugary drinks
- Contact us if you have persistent tooth discomfort of if you have trauma to your teeth
- Wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth when playing a physical sport
Periodontal Disease and Overall Health
Research has associated periodontal infection to several serious medical problems, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and a likelihood to deliver low birth weight babies. Bacteria from your gums can travel through your bloodstream to other parts of your body and this link makes it especially important to take care of your oral health.
With diabetes, periodontal disease exacerbates the problems. In periodontal disease there’s an inflammatory reaction to plaque bacteria. In diabetics the ability to fight off the infection and to heal is decreased, so they have increased inflammation in the gums. Infections like periodontal disease can also impair the body’s ability to process or use insulin, and blood sugar levels rise. With coronary heart disease the link is not clear, but it is believed bacteria travel through bloodstream and adhere to plaque in arteries, contributing to the narrowing of the arteries.
Periodontal disease (also known as “gum disease”, “pyorrhea” or “periodontal infection”) is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth. This infection leads to an inflammation under the gums, and if not treated, this inflammation can destroy the bone around your teeth. This results in tooth loss. It is estimated that 75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal infection.
Here are some signs associated with Periodontal Disease:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding when brushing (pink toothbrush), or at other times
- Aching, itchy, sore or tender gums
- Receding gums (teeth beginning to look longer)
- Pus between your teeth and gums when you press down on the gums
- Bad breath
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Loose, separating or protruding teeth
- Spaces between teeth
Treatments options usually start with Scaling and Root planning.
Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. It can be a problem at any time throughout your lifetime. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and over time the enamel can break down. This is when cavities can form. Sometimes you can see a cavity as an actual “hole” in your tooth.
Cavities are more common among children, but they are an adult problem, too. Older adults can often times get root decay too. Recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of gum disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque. Tooth roots are covered with cementum, a softer tissue than enamel. They are susceptible to decay and are more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold.
Decay around the edges, or a margin, of fillings is also common for older adults. Because many older adults lacked benefits of fluoride and preventive dental care, they often have many dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings may weaken and tend to fracture and leak around the edges. Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices causing acid to build up which leads to decay.
You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips:
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaner.
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking
- Seal the grooves of back molars if a child or adolescent