Prevention

Prevention

Gum disease can cause raised levels of both Cholesterol and sugar in the blood!.

Prevention is the best defence, so if you’re young enough, perfect oral hygiene may keep your gums healthy.

Longstanding gum disease needs a longstanding and usually very conservative treatment. Sometimes a regular (3 – monthly) professional cleaning to back up your home care is enough to prevent loss of teeth. Occasionally however, minor oral surgery may be required.

Unfortunately, not all dentists take the time to check the health of your gums or show you where future problems might be. As a preventive practice, the health of your gums is at the forefront of our philosophy.

Periodontal health is also crucial to the success of complicated aesthetic treatments; before we can place veneers or crowns, the gums must be healthy if we are to have lasting aesthetics.

Oral Hygiene, Periodontics & Teeth Cleaning

What Is...

Plaque
Plaque is a yellow sticky film that forms on the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque release acid that attacks tooth enamel. Tooth decay can occur after repeated attacks. Some food causes plaque bacteria that produce acids.

Thorough daily brushing and flossing can prevent tartar from forming on the teeth.

Plaque can also cause irritation to the gums, making them red, tender, or bleed easily. In some cases, the gums pull away from the teeth, leaving cavities inhabited by bacteria and pus. If this is not treated, bones around the teeth can be destroyed. Teeth may become loose or have to be removed as with periodontal (gum) disease in mostly adults. Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks can prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, or a piece of fruit are considered good snack foods to grab.

Flossing
The use of dental floss is an important element of oral hygiene, since it removes the plaque and the decaying food remaining stuck between the teeth. Flossing for a proper inter-dental cleaning is recommended at least once per day, preferably before bedtime, to help prevent receding gums, gum disease, and cavities between the teeth.

Tongue cleaning
Cleaning the tongue as part of daily oral hygiene is essential, since it removes the white/yellow bad-breath-generating coating of bacteria, decaying food particles, fungi (such as Candida), and dead cells from the dorsal area of the tongue. Tongue cleaning also removes some of the bacteria species which generate tooth decay and gum problems.

Gum care
Massaging gums with toothbrush bristles is generally recommended for good oral health. Flossing is recommended at least once per day, preferably before bed, to help prevent receding gums, gum disease, and cavities between the teeth.

Oral Hygiene

ImageWhat is Good Oral Hygiene?
Good oral hygiene results in a mouth that looks and smells healthy. This means:

  • Your teeth are clean and free of debris
  • Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath is not a constant problem

If your gums do hurt or bleed while brushing or flossing, or you are experiencing persistent bad breath, see your dentist. Any of these conditions may indicate a problem.

Your dentist or hygienist can help you learn good oral hygiene techniques and can help point out areas of your mouth that may require extra attention during brushing and flossing.

How is Good Oral Hygiene Practiced?
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.

Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop and is much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress.

In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems.

These include:

  • Brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily
  • Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals
  • Using dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste
  • Rinsing with a fluoride mouthrinse if your dentist tells you to
  • Making sure that your children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area.
Periodontics

ImagePeriodontics, dental specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of functional and structural diseases of the periodontal membrane and related tissues that surround and support the teeth. Degeneration or inflammation of these tissues can be caused by various systemic or local diseases or by poor oral hygiene. In some cases the cause is not established.

Most commonly, periodontal diseases are caused by hardened bacteria, called bacterial plaque, which adheres to teeth and destroys periodontal tissue.

The most prevalent periodontal disease is periodontitis, inflammation of the periodontium. If untreated, periodontitis leads to resorption of the portion of the jawbone that supports the teeth.

Teeth Cleaning

Image Teeth cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss.

Tooth Decay is the most common global disease affecting every family. Over 80% of cavities occur inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces where brushing cannot reach food left trapped after every meal or snack and saliva or fluoride have no access to neutralise acid and remineralise demineralised tooth.

Fissure sealants dentists apply over grooves in chewing surfaces of back teeth, block food being trapped and halt the decay process. An elastomer strip has been shown to force sealant deeper inside opposing chewing surfaces at the same time and can also force fluoride toothpaste inside chewing surfaces before brushing to remineralise demineralised teeth.

Since before recorded history, a variety of oral hygiene measures have been used for teeth cleaning. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which chewsticks, tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered. Many people used different forms of teeth cleaning tools. Indian medicine (Ayurveda) has used the neem tree (a.k.a. daatun) and its products to create teeth cleaning twigs and similar products for millennia. A person chews one end of the neem twig until it somewhat resembles the bristles of a toothbrush, and then uses it to brush the teeth. In the Muslim world, the miswak, or siwak, made from a twig or root with antiseptic properties has been widely used since the Islamic Golden Age. Rubbing baking soda or chalk against the teeth was also common.

Generally, dentists recommend that teeth be cleaned professionally at least twice per year. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling, tooth polishing, and, if too much tartar has built up, debridement. This is usually followed by a fluoride treatment.

Between cleanings by a dental hygienist, good oral hygiene is essential for preventing tartar build-up which causes the problems mentioned above. This is done by carefully and frequently brushing with a toothbrush and the use of dental floss to prevent accumulation of plaque on the teeth.

Food & Drink

Beneficial Foods & Drink

Foods that help muscles and bones also help teeth and gums. Breads and cereals are rich in vitamin B while fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, both of which contribute to healthy gum tissue. Lean meat, fish, and poultry provide magnesium and zinc for teeth. Some people recommend that teeth be brushed after every meal and at bedtime, and flossed at least once per day, preferably at night before sleep. For some people, flossing might be recommended after every meal.

Beneficial foods
Some foods may protect against cavities. Fluoride is a primary protector against dental cavities. Fluoride makes the surface of teeth more resistant to acids during the process of remineralisation. Drinking fluoridated water is recommended by some dental professionals while others say that using toothpaste alone is enough. Milk and cheese are also rich in calcium and phosphate, and may also encourage remineralisation. All foods increase saliva production, and since saliva contains buffer chemicals this helps to stabilize the pH to near 7 (neutral) in the mouth. Foods high in fiber may also help to increase the flow of saliva. Sugar-free chewing gum stimulates saliva production, and helps to clean the surface of the teeth.

According to World Dental these are the top ten beneficial foods for teeth.

1. Green tea contains polyphenol antioxidant plant compounds that reduce plaque and help reduce cavities and gum disease. Tea may help reduce bad breath. Tooth enamel is strengthened because green tea contains fluoride which promotes healthy teeth.
2. Milk and yogurt are good for teeth because they contain low acidity, which means that wearing of teeth is less. They are also low in decay-inducing sugar. Milk is a good source of calcium, the main component of teeth and bones.
3. Cheese contains calcium and phosphate, which helps balance pH in the mouth, preserves (and rebuilds) tooth enamel, produces saliva, and kills bacteria that cause cavities and disease.
4. Fruits such as apples, strawberries and kiwis contain Vitamin C. This vitamin is considered the element that holds cells together. If this vitamin is neglected, gum cells can break down, making gums tender and susceptible to disease.
5. Vegetables: Vitamin A, found in pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli, is necessary for the formation of tooth enamel. Crunchy vegetables may also help clean gums.
6. Onions contain antibacterial sulfur compounds. Tests show that onions kill various types of bacteria, especially when eaten raw.
7. Celery protects teeth by producing saliva which neutralizes bacteria that cause cavities. It also massages the teeth and gums.
8. Sesame seeds reduce plaque and help build tooth enamel. They are also very high in calcium.
9. Animal food: beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs contain phosphorus which, with calcium, is one of the two most vital minerals of teeth and bone.
10. Water cleans the mouth and produces saliva that deposits essential minerals into the teeth. It keeps teeth hydrated and washes away particles from the teeth.

Detrimental foods

ImageSugars are commonly associated with dental cavities. Other carbohydrates, especially cooked starches, e.g. crisps/potato chips, may also damage teeth, although to a lesser degree since starch has to be converted by enzymes in saliva first.

Sucrose (table sugar) is most commonly associated with cavities. The amount of sugar consumed at any one time is less important than how often food and drinks that contain sugar are consumed. The more frequently sugars are consumed, the greater the time during which the tooth is exposed to low pH levels, at which point demineralisation occurs (below 5.5 for most people). It is important therefore to try to encourage infrequent consumption of food and drinks containing sugar so that teeth have a chance to be repaired by remineralisation and fluoride. Limiting sugar-containing foods and drinks to meal times is one way to reduce the incidence of cavities. Sugars from fruit and fruit juices, e.g., glucose, fructose, and maltose seem equally likely to cause cavities.

Acids contained in fruit juice, vinegar and soft drinks lower the pH level of the oral cavity which causes the enamel to demineralize. Drinking drinks such as orange juice or cola throughout the day raises the risk of dental cavities tremendously.

Another factor which affects the risk of developing cavities is the stickiness of foods. Some foods or sweets may stick to the teeth and so reduce the pH in the mouth for an extended time, particularly if they are sugary. It is important that teeth be cleaned at least twice a day, preferably with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, to remove any food sticking to the teeth. Regular brushing and the use of dental floss also removes the dental plaque coating the tooth surface.

Chewing gum assists oral irrigation between and around the teeth, cleaning and removing particles, but for teeth in poor condition it may damage or remove loose fillings as well.

Other

ImageSmoking and chewing tobacco are both strongly linked with multiple dental diseases. Regular vomiting, as seen in bulimia nervosa, also causes significant damage.

Mouthwash or mouth rinse improve oral hygiene. Dental chewing gums claim to improve dental health.

Retainers can be cleaned in mouthwash or denture cleaning fluid. Dental braces may be recommended by a dentist for best oral hygiene and health. Dentures, retainers, and other appliances must be kept extremely clean. This includes regular brushing and may include soaking them in a cleansing solution.

Oral hygiene and systemic diseases
Several recent clinical studies show a direct link between poor oral hygiene (oral bacteria & oral infections) and serious systemic diseases, such as:

  • Cardiovascular Disease (Heart attack and Stroke)
  • Bacterial Pneumonia
  • Low Birth Weight/Extreme High Birth Weight
  • Diabetes complications
  • Osteoporosis