Cleaning Your Teeth - Dental Hygiene
What are the four things required for proper tooth brushing?
|A soft toothbrush||A soft toothbrush makes it much easier to remove the plaque below the gum line, where periodontal (gum) disease starts.|
|Toothpaste with fluoride||Fluoride hardens the outer enamel layer of the teeth. It might stop a cavity in its tracks and give you more resistance to cavities.|
|The correct angle of brushing||Angle the bristles of the brush along the gum line at a 45 degree angle. Apply firm pressure so the bristles slide under the gum line. Vibrate the brush while you move it in short back and forth strokes and in small circular motions.|
|Brushing in a pattern||It's fine to brush in any regular pattern you choose, but since the insides of the teeth tend to get less attention, you might start with the insides of the upper teeth, then go to the insides of the lower teeth. Switch to the outsides of the upper teeth, and then the outsides of the lower teeth.|
Protective Mouth Guards
As a dentist, it is always upsetting to treat a child who has fractured or lost front teeth as a result of a sporting accident. The consequences will last for the rest of the child's life as, unlike bone, teeth do not heal.
In most cases damage could have been prevented or reduced had a suitable custom fitting mouth guard been worn.
A mouth guard made by your dentist is made specially to fit your mouth. This is more protective and stronger than an over-the-counter model as available in most sport stores. An incorrectly fitting mouth guard is inefficient, hard to hold in place, and interferes with proper breathing and speech.
Protects your teeth, tongue, cheeks and lips from trauma. Lessens the risk of jaw fractures, and brain concussion. However, trauma can still occur when wearing a mouth guard which, if suspected, should always be examined by your family dentist.
When should I get a mouth guard made for myself or my child?
We recommend that your mouth guard is made before embarking on any physical sport or pastime such as Rugby, Football, Hockey, Skateboarding/Rollerblading, Martial Arts/Self Defence, Gymnastics, Skiing, Lacrosse, Squash, etc.
Gingivitis (Gum Disease) means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen, showing that the area is inflamed. Often this swollen gum bleeds when it is brushed during cleaning.
Long-standing gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. There are a number of forms of periodontal disease and they all affect the supporting structures of the teeth. As the disease progresses the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.
Do I Have Gum Disease?
Probably! Most of the population suffers from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease progresses very slowly in most people and can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.
All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria, which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been identified as the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and using interdental cleaning aids such as floss or inter-proximal brushes.
Up to 1 in 4 people may have some symptoms. Both men and women are affected equally, although women tend to seek treatment more than men. The symptoms can often start with the menopause or other hormonal changes.
Many people have imperfect occlusion and missing teeth, yet never have symptoms because they adjust to their problems. Occasionally, in the times of increased stress and tension, the symptoms may appear and then go away immediately. Or, your teeth and gums may be affected straight away and instead of headaches, you may suffer:
- Flattened, worn teeth
- Broken teeth, fillings and crowns
- Loose teeth
- Continual sensitivity of your teeth to temperature change
- Toothache with no apparent cause