Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is mostly caused by the accumulation of plaque on the teeth. When plaque is not adequately removed it hardens into calculus. Plaque and calculus eventually irritate the gums and cause inflammation. This leads to the bleeding of the gums, can destroy gum tissue and may eventually lead to tooth loss
Signs and Symptoms
- bright red and swollen gums
- gums tender to touch
- bleeding when brushing or flossing
- halitosis(bad breath)
- receding gums
Treatment involves care by a dental professional where the professional cleans the teeth. The patient must then use correct brushing and flossing techniques at home and maintain better oral health.
Dental decay affects people of all ages.
Tooth decay happens when tooth is exposed to sugar. The amount of time the teeth are exposed to sugar, the quality of saliva as well as its quantity, and the bacterial profile of the mouth all play a part in the susceptibility of the tooth to decay.
Cavities are where the hard surfaces of teeth are permanently damaged and develop into tiny holes. Other names for cavities are decay or caries.
Cavities and tooth decay are one of the most common health problems, being common in children, teenagers and older adults. It’s important to note though that anyone who has teeth can get cavities. This includes infants.
The best way to care for teeth and gums is to reduce sugar intake, brush and floss daily with the correct technique, and have regular dental check-ups with your dentist.
Enamel hypoplasia (Defect of the enamel)
Enamel hypoplasia happens when there is a disruption in the development of enamel causing it to be hard but thin. Chalky white or yellowish-brown patches may appear in the contours of the teeth. Enamel hypoplasia is sometimes present from birth but can also be acquired.
Hypoplasia may be caused by insufficient intake of nutrients such as calcium, viral or bacterial infections such as measles or chicken pox, illness or malnutrition during pregnancy, use of some antibiotics during development of permanent teeth or excess ingestion of fluoride (also known as fluorosis).
How enamel hypoplasia is treated generally depends on its severity. In the case of milder hypoplasia, dentists may recommend normal maintenance and care with special attention given to the affected area in order to prevent tooth decay. For more serious conditions, your dentist may recommend a sealant, filling, crowns or dental veneers.
Tooth wear is where there is progressive destruction of tooth tissue not caused by dental decay or trauma. Tooth wear prevalence increases with age and is usually caused by ‘Erosion’, ‘Abrasion’ and ‘Attrition’.
Erosion is where acidic food softens the outer layer of a tooth known as enamel. Many of the fruits contain significant quantities of natural acids, like citrus fruits. Other common sources of acidic food include, chewable vitamin C tablets, carbonated drinks and some of the processed foods. Tooth erosion happens due to continuous exposure to acidic foods and is not a result of one off or scarce exposure. To reduce the risk of erosion, rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks to dilute the acids in your mouth. Always use a straw when drinking acidic drinks or soda and avoid continuous sipping of carbonated drinks.
If you do present to your dentist with tooth wear, they may recommend a sealant, filling, crowns or dental veneers in order improve aesthetics and function of the teeth.
The Benefits of Flossing
Flossing accomplishes what a toothbrush cannot. To remove plaque from between your teeth, you will need to use floss. Without that build up between your teeth, you will be able to do an even more effective job with your toothbrush, compounding the benefits of brushing twice daily.
- The first step is to prepare a piece of floss. Take a long length of floss. Wrap much of the floss around the middle finger on one of your hands, and wrap the other end of the piece around your opposite middle finger. Using your middle fingers to ‘spool’ the floss, you can then pinch what is left between your thumb and forefingers on each hand. This technique should leave you with a tight grip and plenty of control over the floss.
- Now it is time to get to work. Start between your front teeth and move the floss gently back and forth. Remember, the key is to move slowly with gentle motions – there should be nothing harsh or aggressive about your technique.
- Wrap the floss around the side of your tooth and gradually pull back and forth to move build up away from the tooth.
- Move through your mouth until you have addressed all of your teeth. When finished, discard the used piece of floss and start with a new piece tomorrow.
Chewing Gum to Prevent Cavities
Studies show that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals may reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. The chewing of sugar-free gum increases the flow of saliva which washes away debris whilst neutralising bacterial acids in the mouth. There is also more calcium and phosphate with increased saliva flow to help strengthen tooth enamel.
Sugar-free gum shouldn’t replace brushing and flossing as It is still recommended to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss and/or other interdental cleaners.
Lincoln Dental at Bulleen and Forest Hill, close to both Doncaster and Templestowe areas, with the latest diagnostic tools, experienced dentists, friendly and supportive staff can make your dental experience as comfortable as possible. If you are facing a dental emergency, please do not hesitate to call us on (03) 9939 3032 or (03) 9874 1309. Stay home, stay safe.