Many people are dissatisfied with the colour of their teeth and the quality of their smile.
Here’s what you can do to keep your teeth clean and improve your smile.
Many people are not happy with the brightness of their teeth or the quality of their smiles.
Here are 6 easy steps to keeping your teeth clean and improving your smile!
- Brush and floss daily, using a soft toothbrush to avoid gum damage. If you like, use an electric toothbrush, which uses sonic waves to clean teeth. Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time, and floss at least once
In my last Blog, I discussed the cause of a dry mouth.
In Part 2, I will provide some guidelines for the management of a dry mouth.
Firstly, a little basic Chemistry- Saliva is made up mostly of water but also contains ions and minerals & enzymes that protect your teeth, gums and mucosa (the lining of your mouth).
Importantly, saliva contains bicarbonate and ammonium, which neutralises acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. This Acid acts to soften the tooth, which causes decay. Saliva is your body’s protection against decay. If there is no or little saliva, you have very little protection. While there is no cure for a dry mouth there are a number of steps that can be taken to manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of decay.
Having a dry mouth can be quite uncomfortable, unpleasant and limits normal daily functions like eating and speech. The sensation of a dry mouth is usually caused by a lack of saliva. This lack of saliva is not only uncomfortable but also increases the risk of many oral diseases such as tooth decay, gum disease and fungal infections.
Dry MouthWhat causes the lack of Saliva?
In-adequate hydration: Adequate hydration is required to produce the large volume of saliva we need to produce each day. I recommend 1.5 to 2 litres of tap water daily. Tap water is almost the only drink that has a neutral pH. Most drinks including fruit juice, soft drinks and energy drinks are both acidic (softening your valuable tooth enamel) and contain sugar. Tap water, as opposed to bottled water, also contains a low concentration of fluoride which helps to harden tooth enamel.
Rates of tooth decay were steadily declining in Australia through the 1970’s and 80’s to a low point in the mid 1990’s. Since then rates have again increased back to where they were in the 1980’s. What is responsible for this increase?
As a father of two girls aged 6 and 9 I have noticed social and dietary changes that have contributed to this trend. In our house my wife & I keep the sugar to a minimum. In general, on a day to day basis in our house there is no soft drink, juice, biscuits, cakes, ice-cream, chocolates or lollies. I know, sounds like no fun but they do have tuckshop once a week, relatively healthy snacks at home & usually on the weekend if we are out the girls might score something special or two. We need to be firm with the “day to day” because too often sugary treats still come their way.
Most people know that being overweight, having diabetes, stress & smoking all increase your risk of heart disease. What you may not know is that Gum Disease also increases the risk of Heart Disease.
Gum disease is a condition caused by bacteria which results in the destruction of the bone and gum attachment around a tooth.
What are the signs of Gum Disease:
• bleeding gums
• red, puffy or tender gums
• ongoing bad breath
The most common cause of toothache is an infected pulp or nerve. This usually happens in the back molar teeth which are more prone to decay. At this point it is no longer possible to fill the tooth & treatment options are limited to root canal therapy or extraction. When faced with this dilemma patients often ask for my advice.
In the vast majority of cases the best decision is to retain the tooth with root canal therapy. Some patients will comment that if the tooth cannot be seen it is not important to keep the tooth. It is actually the back teeth which do most of the work when chewing. Loss of a back molar tooth will almost certainly reduce chewing efficiency with most chewing being done with the other side.
In my last Blog, I discussed the benefits of a check up in the early detection of tooth decay but a dental check up involves so much more than just looking for tooth decay.
The dentist will also look for signs of premature wear from clenching & grinding. Early detection & implementing preventative strategies can potentially same thousands of dollars over the long term. Not to mention saving you many hours of operative dental treatment!
As dentists we also look for signs of acid erosion which has become more frequent with the increasing consumption of acidic beverages. Another cause of damage to teeth most people do not consider is that caused by incorrect brushing technique – either brushing too hard, using a hard bristle brush or both.