Oral health means much more than healthy teeth as they are essential to general health. Safe and effective disease prevention measures exist that everyone can voluntarily decide to improve oral health and prevent disease.
Preventive Dentistry focuses on the ability to help individuals achieve and maintain maximum oral health throughout their lives. The prevention of diseases by using proper brushing techniques, flossing, fluoride applications, and space maintainers are introduced to patients as part of Preventive Dentistry. This helps the patients a lot because of the long-term benefit and the cost-effectiveness involved.
Prevention of Gum-Disease and Bad Breath
Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected to cause a foul smell. It is estimated to affect more than half of all adults in India to some degree. And most people experience it at least once in their lifetime. It is much less common in children.
If you have gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and you may have bad breath. This stage of gum disease is known as Gingivitis. If Gingivitis is not treated, a condition called Periodontitis can develop. This affects the tissues that support teeth and hold them in place. In India, it is estimated that up to 25% of adults have severe Periodontitis. It is also estimated that many more are affected less severely.
If Periodontitis is not treated, the bone in your jaw can decay and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth. Your teeth can become loose and may eventually fall apart.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria, which forms when you eat and drink.
Some bacteria in plaque are harmless but some are very harmful to the health of your gums. If you do not remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them, it will build up and irritate your gums, leading to redness, swelling and soreness of gums.
Visiting your Dentist
You should make an appointment to see your dentist if your gums are painful, swollen or if they bleed when you brush your teeth. Click here for your appointment with Denta Kings. Your dentist can carry out a thorough dental examination to check the health of your gums. This may involve inserting a thin metal stick with a bend in one end (periodontal probe) beside your teeth. In some cases, a number of X-rays may be needed to check the condition of your teeth and jaw bone.
Preventing and Treating Gum Disease
A mild case of gum disease can usually be treated by maintaining a good level of oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly. You should also make sure to visit your dentist for your regular dental check-ups.
In most cases, your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to give your teeth a thorough clean and remove any hardened plaque (tartar). They will also be able to show you how to clean your teeth effectively to help prevent plaque building up in the future.
If you have severe gum disease, you will usually need to have further medical and dental treatment. In some cases, surgery or laser treatment may be needed. This will usually be performed by a specialist in gum problems (Periodontics).
It is important to have regular dental check-ups so that any problems with your teeth and gums can be detected and treated early.
If you have never had gum disease and have good oral health, you may only need to visit your dentist every one to two years for a check-up.
You may need to visit your dentist more frequently if you have had problems with gum disease in the past. At each appointment, your dentist will advise when you need your next appointment.
Preventing Dental Caries
Maintaining good oral hygiene through brushing and flossing your teeth is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Some simple changes in your diet can also help.
Brushing tips to prevent dental caries
Brush your teeth for at least two minutes. The teeth can be brushed the last thing at night before you go to bed and on one other occasion every day. Apart from bedtime, it doesn’t really matter when you choose to brush your teeth. Ensure it is an hour after last had your food.
– Do not brush your teeth straight after a meal as it can damage your teeth, especially if you’ve had fruit, fizzy drinks, wine or any other food that contains acid.
– Not brushing for an hour after food will give your saliva a chance to neutralize the acid.
It is also important you brush your teeth in the right way. The following advice may help.
– Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth.
– Then tilt the bristle tips to a 45-degree angle against the gum line.
– Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of every tooth.
– Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against the gum line.
– Use the same method on the inside surfaces of all your teeth.
– Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
– To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small circular strokes with the front part of the brush.
– Brushing your tongue will freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
– Do not rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after brushing as this washes the protective toothpaste away. Just spit out excess toothpaste.
– Try not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after brushing.
– Take care to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis because they wear out and become less effective in removing plaque. Most toothbrushes need to be replaced every two to three months.
– It doesn’t matter whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush. They’re both equally as good, providing you brush with them properly. However, some people find it easier to clean their teeth thoroughly with an electric toothbrush.
Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene. It removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gum line, where a toothbrush cannot always reach. You should ideally clean between your teeth at least once a day with floss. This can be done before or after brushing your teeth at night.
Your dentist or hygienist can advise you on flossing techniques, but the following tips may help.
– Take 12-18 inches (30-45cm) of floss and grasp it so you have a couple of inches of floss taut between your hands.
– Slip the floss gently between the teeth and into the area between your teeth and gums, as far as it will go.
– Floss with 8-10 strokes, up and down between each tooth, to dislodge food and plaque.
– Use interdental brushes instead of flossing if your teeth are very close together. This is because you will find difficulty in maneuvering the dental floss through the gap.
Using an alcohol-free dental mouthwash that contains fluoride can help prevent tooth decay. However, this should not be used directly after brushing your teeth. Choose a separate time to use mouthwash, such as after lunch. Take care not to eat or drink for 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash.
Limiting the amount of sugar you eat and drink is important to prevent tooth decay and also has wider benefits for your general health. Have sugary food and drink only at mealtimes and don’t eat sugary snacks between meals.
Most of the sugars we eat and drink are present in processed and ready-made food and drinks. The examples of such foods are
– Sweets, chocolate, cakes, and other desserts
– Buns, pastries, fruit pies and biscuits
– Sponge puddings and other puddings
– Table sugar added to food or drinks, such as tea, coffee, etc.
– Sugary breakfast cereals
– Jams, marmalades, and honey
– Ice cream
– Dried fruit or fruits in syrup
– Syrups and sweet sauces
– Sugary drinks, including soft drinks, fizzy drinks, milkshakes, alcoholic drinks, and fruit juice
Healthier alternatives for snacks and drinks include cheese, fruit and vegetables, and unsweetened tea or coffee. Some artificial sweeteners like stevia have been shown not to contribute to tooth decay, so they may be a good alternative if you like to some sweetness to any foods or drinks.
Chewing sugar-free gum after you had your food may also help prevent tooth decay. When you chew gum, your mouth produces saliva, which neutralizes the acid in your mouth before it can damage your teeth.
Some medicines can contain sugar too, so you should ideally use sugar-free alternatives whenever possible. Your GP or pharmacist should be able to advise you about this. You can read more about lifestyle tips for healthy teeth.
Checking Food Labels
Check labels on foods to see how much sugar they contain. Sugar comes in many forms, so look out for the following ingredients.
– Hydrolyzed starch or syrup
Ingredients are usually listed in order of the amount used, with the main ingredient listed first. If sugar, or one of the ingredients above, is near the top of the ingredients list, it may mean the food is high in sugar.
Some products also use the traffic light system as part of their labeling to indicate whether they are high or low in sugar, where a red light indicates a high amount of sugar and a green light indicates a low amount of sugar.
In general, high in sugar means more than 15g of sugar for every 100g of product and low in sugar means less than 5g of sugar for every 100g of product.
Prevention Of Malalignment
Preventive Orthodontics are procedures to promote the development of a normal occlusion (bite) and aid in preventing malocclusion from developing.
Interceptive orthodontics are procedures to restore a normal occlusion once a malocclusion has started to develop.
Genetic and environmental factors can contribute to the development of malocclusion. They can span several years, rendering it difficult to determine specific causative factors. These malocclusions should be diagnosed at the earliest within the age of 6 to 8 year old. Preventive treatments are done accordingly based on the jaw size. The orthodontist decides to maximize or minimize its growth in case of a bony malalignment. If in case the dental malalignment is because of overcrowded teeth only, the milk teeth need to be extracted. This procedure referred to as Serial Extraction would intrude and pave way for the ascending permanent teeth to erupt properly. This procedure can prevent future orthodontic treatments.
In case of extraction of decayed milk tooth, SPACE MAINTAINERS are advised to be used. They maintain the space of the extracted tooth enabling the permanent teeth to erupt in its position without causing malalignment. Some samples of space maintainers are shown below.
There is some exceptional case where even after diagnosing and proceeding with the treatment the kid would require orthodontic braces for mild corrections after 12 years of age.
Prevention Of Extraction
A tooth needs to be saved at any cost. When you extract a tooth, the problems that you face are
– Compromised chewing – When the food particles are not chewed properly you tend to swallow food. This can cause indigestion problems in the elderly.
– The adjacent teeth near the extracted site are now free to shift their places causing spacing between the teeth and food getting impacted causing tooth decay.
– The opposing tooth now has no restrictions, so they tend to supra erupt causing to loosen up and shake, or drift down. If the tooth drifts down, replacement cannot be done without extraction of the drifted teeth making you spend twice.
– Compromised chewing due to tooth missing can cause problems in your Temporo Mandibular Joint
Hence saving a tooth is very important. An acutely infected tooth can be saved by ROOT CANAL TREATMENT PROCEDURE and by placing CROWNS.
Certain teeth like WISDOM TEETH OR GROSSLY DECAYED TEETH can never be saved. But if you have an option given by your dentist that your tooth can be saved, do save it them to avoid any future problems.