25th October 2023
The Guide to Preventative Dental Care
Common Dental Problems and How to Prevent Them
Poor dental health can lead to various issues, including cavities, gum disease, enamel erosion, and more. Dental problems can affect appearance, eating, and your overall health.
Some dental issues are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other health concerns. The good news is many dental issues are preventable. Taking good care of your teeth and gums can help you avoid serious dental problems.
The article below takes a look at common dental issues, as well as practical preventive strategies to promote optimal oral health.
Understanding Common Dental Problems
Understanding common dental problems and their development is the first step to keeping your mouth and teeth healthy. Below are some common dental conditions.
A dental cavity is an area of tooth decay that leads to a hole in the tooth. Dental cavities do not go away on their own. They can gradually become larger without treatment.
Dental cavities are caused by tooth decay, which develops due to a build-up of dental plaque. Risk factors include eating lots of sugary foods and drinks and poor oral hygiene.
Cavities develop when plaque on the tooth starts to break down or eat away at the tooth’s enamel, leading to a hole. Plaque is a film of bacteria and leftover food particles that stick to your teeth. If you do not remove the plaque over time, it may cause cavities.
Symptoms of cavities include:
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Visible hole or pit in the tooth
- Pain when biting
- Mild pain when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet
Gum Disease (Gingivitis and Periodontitis)
Gum disease, called periodontal disease, involves inflammation and infection of the gums, which support the teeth.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. Gingivitis develops due to a build-up of plaque. The bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and cause inflammation.
Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease. When plaque stays on the teeth too long, it hardens and forms tartar. Tartar may spread below the gum line. When the infection and inflammation spread below the gum line, it adversely affects the teeth, tissues, and bones supporting the teeth. Eventually, the teeth may become loose.
The main risk factor for gum disease is poor oral hygiene and not having regular professional dental cleanings.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums that pull away from the teeth, making the teeth look longer
The enamel is the hard coating of the tooth that protects the dentine underneath. Although the enamel is hard, it can wear down. Enamel erosion occurs when part of the enamel dissolves or wears away. It usually occurs due to excess acid coming in contact with the teeth. Drinking acidic beverages, taking certain medications, and excessive vomiting are potential causes.
Enamel erosion can impact the teeth in several ways. When the enamel erodes, it exposes the dentine underneath. The dentine is darker than the tooth enamel. So, the tooth may appear darker. Erosion may also lead to tooth sensitivity and pain. It makes the tooth more suspectable to tooth decay and injury.
Dental Preventative Strategies
Fortunately, many dental problems are largely preventable. You can take charge of your dental health by implementing the strategies below.
The best way to prevent cavities is good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash to remove food and plaque. Use toothpaste with fluoride to protect your teeth.
Limit sugary snacks that increase plaque build-up. Drink plenty of water to maintain a good amount of saliva, which helps wash food particles out of the mouth. Also, visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
Gum Disease Prevention:
Gum disease prevention is essential for good oral health. Similar to preventing cavities, proper oral hygiene, which includes thorough brushing and flossing, is vital. Using an antimicrobial mouthwash may also help decrease bacteria, which can contribute to plaque development. It is also important to go for regular dental checkups and cleaning. Your dental professional can detect gum disease early and provide tips to prevent it from progressing.
Enamel Erosion Prevention:
Avoid acidic drinks, such as soda and other carbonated drinks to prevent enamel erosion. Limit citrus juices, which also contain natural acids. When you drink acid beverages, use a straw to reduce contact with the teeth. It may also help to wait an hour before brushing your teeth after drinking acidic drinks. Acid drinks may soften the enamel. Brushing immediately after may cause further enamel damage. Regular dental checkups also help keep a watch for any enamel damage. Your dentist can provide tips to prevent it from becoming worse.
The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups
Going for regular dental checkups and cleanings also plays a large role in maintaining good oral health. Some dental problems do not cause symptoms in their early stages. But a dental professional can spot issues with your teeth, gums, and mouth in their early stages before they become serious. The earlier you identify dental problems, the better.
A professional cleaning also removes tarter and plaque you may be unable to remove at home. Your dental professional will make personalised recommendations to treat any problems early and improve your oral health.
At-home Dental Care Habits
Nothing replaces regular dental checkups and cleanings. But it is also vital to have good at-home dental habits. Below are several at-home oral health tips to make part of your daily routine.
Brush your teeth thoroughly:
Brush after every meal to remove food particles. In addition to your teeth, brush the tongue, where bacteria may also develop.
Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque. Use a sawing motion to get in between each tooth, then move the floss up and down around each tooth. Get between each tooth, even the hard-to-reach ones in the back.
Swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for about 30 seconds. Also, gargle with the mouthwash to reach the back of your teeth. Try to use mouthwash twice a day.
Being proactive about your oral health can help prevent serious dental problems. Maintaining good dental habits, such as the oral health tips above, can help keep your teeth healthy. Also, it is vital to go for regular dental visits with Townhouse Dental to maintain a healthy mouth and smile!
Finding your prefect dentist in Tunbridge Wells and Brighton & Hove
Here at The Town House Dental Practice, we are always happy to welcome new patients and have a team of friendly and experienced dentists to help keep your oral health in good care and treat any issues that may arise.