Cavities, also known as tooth decay, occur when plaque, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel.
Follow these dental hygiene practices to prevent cavities:
Brush your teeth – In the fight against cavities, it is essential that you brush your teeth properly at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
Floss daily – Food debris gets caught in between our teeth when we eat. If the debris is not removed, it can lead to cavities. Flossing every day is the best way to remove food debris from in between the teeth.
Eat healthy – Proper nutrition plays an important role in good dental health. Eating nutritional snacks and limiting the amount of sugar intake will help to prevent plaque from forming on the teeth.
Have sealants placed – Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant protects the tooth from getting a cavity by shielding against bacteria and plaque. Sealants are more common in children because of the new growth of permanent teeth; however, sealants can benefit adults too.
Use a mouthwash – There are several antimicrobial mouthwashes on the market that have been clinically proven to reduce plaque. Rinsing with one of these mouthwashes after brushing or eating can aid in cavity prevention.
Chew sugarless gum – Believe it or not, chewing certain sugarless gums can actually help to prevent cavities by increasing the flow of saliva in your mouth.
It is especially important to keep an eye on how often your child eats as well as what he/she eats. You should limit between-meal snacks to reduce the number of acid attacks on teeth and to give teeth a chance to repair themselves. Limit their intake of candies, cookies, soda and other sugary drinks. Make sure your child doesn’t eat or drink anything with sugar after bedtime tooth brushing. Don’t forget to supervise young children when they brush. Since most cavities in children and adolescents develop in the molars, it’s best to get these teeth sealed as soon as they come in.
A toothache is a common reason for visiting the dentist. Pain from toothaches can affect the teeth and jaws.
Brush and floss your teeth to remove food fragments on and in-between your teeth. Rinse with warm water.
You may take painkillers for the pain, but DO NOT put an aspirin or any other painkiller directly against the gums near the aching tooth. This can burn and cause damage to the gum tissue. If the pain persists, call to see a dentist as soon as possible.
Avoid very cold or hot foods as they may make the pain worse.
Relief may be obtained by biting on some cotton wool soaked in oil of cloves. Oil of cloves is available at most pharmacies.
It is important to know that persistent toothache pain may temporarily subside, but will usually return until the underlying problem has been addressed. Failure to treat these problems in a timely manner may lead to further deterioration and more costly treatment.
Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, if necessary. A root canal might need to be done if the cause of a toothache is found to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed.
See your dentist as soon as possible if a toothache lasts longer than 1 or 2 days or if it is severe. Proper identification and treatment of dental infections are important to prevent its spread to other parts of the face and skull and possibly even to the bloodstream.
Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected and most people experience it at least once. It is much less common in children. As per Canadian Dental Association (CDA), 7 out of 10 Canadians develop gum disease at some time in their lives. The incidence of gum disease is very high. It is seen in all types of people, all races and cultures, regardless of where they live or their level of education
People who do not go to a family dentist are frequently unaware they have a problem — an estimated 20 per cent of Canadians have active periodontal disease and do not know it.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a chronic infection that can result in a number of health problems, from mild inflammation to severe gum damage to tooth loss, if left untreated. In addition, gum disease can affect your overall health, and has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
It is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth, and is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. Plaque that is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth can eventually harden into calculus or tartar.
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.
Signs of Gum Disease:
Your oral health is critical to your overall health. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek care from a dentist who is knowledgeable about treating gum disease:
A sour taste in your mouth or persistently bad breath
A change in how your partial dentures fit
A change in how your teeth fit together when you bite down
Gum tissue that pulls away from your teeth
Loose teeth or increasing spaces between your teeth
Pain when chewing
Unusually sensitive teeth
Swollen and tender gums
Gum Disease Treatment Options:
Regular professional deep cleanings
Medications that are either taken orally or are inserted directly into infected tissue pockets
Surgery, in more severe cases of gum disease.
Good oral hygiene home practices i.e. brushing + flossing.
Despite following good oral hygiene practices, people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. If anyone in your family has gum disease, it may mean that you are at greater risk, as well. If you are more susceptible to gum disease, your dentist or periodontist may recommend more frequent check-ups, cleanings, and treatments to better manage the condition.
A permanent tooth which has been knocked out can be saved if it is put back quickly. If you cannot put the tooth back, store it in milk. Always call your dentist straightaway after a tooth injury. Every minute the tooth is out of the gum, the less chance it has of surviving.
First aid for permanent tooth:
Handle the tooth by the crown (smooth white part), not the root (yellowish pointy parts).
Gently put the tooth back into the gum. Make sure the pointy root is the part that goes into the gum. Only do this if the person is conscious.
Hold the tooth in place by gently biting on something soft, like a handkerchief.
See a dentist
If the tooth is dirty, rinse gently with water and don’t rub or scrub.
What not to do with the tooth
Don’t clean the tooth by scrubbing or using cleaning products or water.
Don’t handle the tooth by the root.
Don’t let the tooth dry out.
If the knocked out tooth is placed in the socket, subsequent treatment may include antibiotics to prevent infection. If the tooth is knocked loose or pushed out of position (inward, outward, sideways or into the jawbone), contact your dentist as soon as possible.
The treatment of a fractured tooth depends on how deep the fracture is. Regardless of the damage, treatment should always be determined by a dentist.
If you cannot close your upper and lower teeth together, your jaw may be broken. This requires emergency dental help.
Wear a sports guard when playing any contact sport.
Avoid hard foods
Always wear a seatbelt.
Any trauma to the mouth that causes bleeding and lacerations to the gums, tooth fracture and/or dislodging of teeth, may require immediate attention. If you take longer to see your dentist, it will reduce the chance of revival of the tooth.
Whether the result of an accident or biting on a piece of food that’s too hard, mouth injuries can cause teeth to become cracked, broken, or knocked out/dislodged. It is important to see a dentist because if left untreated, a dental emergency can lead to serious complications.
If the tooth is just chipped, you should make a non-emergency dental appointment to have it smoothed down and filled. If the tooth has been knocked out or is badly broken, see a dentist immediately. Find your nearest dentist who offers emergency dental appointments.
While you wait to see a dentist, you can follow these dental tips:
If you still have a knocked out tooth, handle by the tip of it (crown) and avoid touching the root. Do not scrape or brush the tooth. If that tooth is dirty, rinse with milk or salt water. The sooner a knocked-out tooth is reimplanted, the more likely it is to embed itself back into the gum. If you don’t want to be left with a gap, make an emergency appointment to see your dentist. Usually, your dentist will want to re-implant your tooth as soon as possible, ideally within an hour of it being knocked out. If you have already attempted this yourself, they will check that the tooth is in place correctly.
In case of lost tooth, most people will choose to have it replaced. Different dental treatments are adopted for tooth replacement. Your dentist can replace the tooth with a denture, a bridge or an implant.
If you have broken your tooth, do not try to re-implant the fragment back into your gum – store it in a clean container and cover the fragment with milk or saliva until you can see a dentist. It may be possible to reattach the broken fragment to the tooth. If you have broken a tooth halfway down and damaged the network of blood vessels and nerves in its centre (the pulp), root canal treatment will be needed to remove the damaged pulp from your tooth, as this can become infected. The space will then be filled and the tooth sealed with a filling or a dental crown.
Unlike broken bones, the crack in a tooth will never heal completely. It is still important that you get treatment. Our dental team at Expressions Dental™ will be able to tell you more about this problem and recommend treatment for a broken or cracked tooth.