Here are a few things I consider very important for good oral health.
Teeth cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth in order to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss.
I recommend that teeth be cleaned professionally at The Springhill Clinic at least twice a year. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling, tooth polishing, and, if too much tartar has built up, debridement. This is usually followed by a fluoride treatment for children and adults.
Our dental hygienist at the clinic will advise that good oral hygiene is essential for preventing tartar build-up which causes the problems that can lead to decay. This is done by carefully and frequently brushing with a good toothbrush and the use of dental floss to prevent accumulation of plaque on the teeth. We will advise you at your next visit the best toothbrush that will suit your needs.
Periodontologists nowadays prefer the use of interdental brushes to dental floss. Apart from being more gentle to the gums, they also carry less risk for hard dental tissue damage. There are different sizes of brushes that are recommended according to the size of the interdental space. Fiona or I can advise which size will suit you at your next visit.
Dental floss is an important element of oral hygiene, since it removes the plaque and the decaying food remaining stuck between the teeth. This plaque causes irritation to the gums, allowing the gum tissue to bleed more easily. Flossing for a proper inter-dental cleaning is recommended at least once per day, preferably before bedtime, to help prevent receding gums, gum disease, and cavities between the teeth.
We find the tongue is often overlooked, at Springhill we encourage cleaning the tongue as part of the daily oral hygiene, since it removes the white/yellow bad breath generating coating of bacteria, decaying food particles, fungi, and dead cells from the dorsal area of tongue.
Massaging gums with toothbrush bristles is generally recommended for good oral health. Flossing is recommended at least once per day, preferably before bed, to help prevent receding gums, gum disease, and cavities between the teeth.
I don't usually recommend oral irrigation as a great way to clean teeth and gums.Oral irrigators can reach 3-4 mm under the gum line, farther than toothbrushes and floss. However, the jet stream is not strong enough to remove all plaque and tartar. The procedure does leave a feeling of cleanliness and freshness, but does not disrupt as much plaque or bacteria as floss.
Food and drink
Foods that help muscles and bones also help teeth and gums. Breads and cereals are rich in vitamin B while fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, both of which contribute to healthy gum tissue. Lean meat, fish, and poultry provide magnesium and zinc for teeth. Some people recommend that teeth be brushed after every meal and at bedtime, and flossed at least once per day, preferably at night before sleep. For some people, flossing might be recommended after every meal. Again it is different for everybody and at Springhill I or my staff will advise you.
Some foods may protect against cavities. Fluoride is a primary protector against dental cavities. Fluoride makes the surface of teeth more resistant to acids during the process of remineralisation. Milk and cheese are also rich in calcium and phosphate, and may also encourage remineralisation. All foods increase saliva production, and since saliva contains buffer chemicals this helps to stabilize the pH to near 7 (neutral) in the mouth. Foods high in fiber may also help to increase the flow of saliva. I recommend a certain amount of sugar-free chewing gum stimulates saliva production, and helps to clean the surface of the teeth, just remember to Keep Kilkenny clean and dispose of chewing gum carefully.
Sugars are commonly associated with dental cavities. Other carbohydrates, especially cooked starches, e.g. crisps/potato chips, may also damage teeth, although to a lesser degree since starch has to be converted by enzymes in saliva first.
Sucrose (table sugar) is most commonly associated with cavities. The amount of sugar consumed at any one time is less important than how often food and drinks that contain sugar are consumed. The more frequently sugars are consumed, the greater the time during which the tooth is exposed to low pH levels, at which point demineralisation occurs (below 5.5 for most people). It is important therefore to try to encourage infrequent consumption of food and drinks containing sugar so that teeth have a chance to be repaired by remineralisation and fluoride. Limiting sugar-containing foods and drinks to meal times is one way to reduce the incidence of cavities. Sugars from fruit and fruit juices, e.g., glucose, fructose, and maltose seem equally likely to cause cavities. At Springhill we say just use your own common sense and cut out as mush of these food and drinks as possible.
Acids contained in fruit juice, vinegar and soft drinks lower the pH level of the oral cavity which causes the enamel to demineralize. Drinking drinks such as orange juice or cola throughout the day raises the risk of dental cavities tremendously.
Another factor which affects the risk of developing cavities is the stickiness of foods. Some foods or sweets may stick to the teeth and so reduce the pH in the mouth for an extended time, particularly if they are sugary. This is probably the biggest enemy of oral health. So that's Sinead may offer you a complimentary apple at reception, no sticky toffee apples here!
Chewing gum assists oral irrigation between and around the teeth, cleaning and removing particles, but for teeth in poor condition it may damage or remove loose fillings as well. After I see you in Springhill Clinic I will give you the exact advice that will help your specific situation.
I look forward to meeting you soon at Springhill Clinic
Dr Derek Cashin
Springhill Clinic, Waterford Road, Kilkenny, Ireland. T 056-7753888 F 056-7753828 E firstname.lastname@example.org Legal | Privacy | Contact