Not all of us are aware that the correct daily oral care can be the best preventive measure against tooth decay and gum diseases. Questions about the correct oral care are answered by the dentist Auksė Spruogytė.
1. Why is it necessary to take care of our mouth? What are the complications arising from the lack of care?
Large amounts (up to 600 species, compared to about 150 species found on the hands) of various microorganisms live in the oral cavity. A balance of “good” and “bad” microorganisms, which determines oral health, is maintained by carefully supervised oral cavity daily care. Insufficient daily oral hygiene combined with poor diet leads to the disbalance of mouth microorganisms and the number of diseases caused by “bad” microorganisms grows, resulting in tooth decay and diseases of tissue surrounding teeth, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. If untreated, the disease progresses, causing pain, swelling, bleeding, discomfort and even tooth loss.
2. What are the main tools for oral care?
The main and the most basic tools that are necessary to everyone are a toothbrush, toothpaste containing fluoride and a dental floss. The toothbrush should be chosen soft or very soft. Toothpaste should contain 500ppm of fluoride for children from 1 to 6 years, 1000-1500ppm of fluoride for children from 6 years of age and adults. The only reliable way to clean up the accumulated soft plaque between teeth is the dental floss. It should be waxed and impregnated with fluorine and should be used on a daily basis.
Additional products may be used depending on the patient’s needs. Special rinsing liquids containing antibacterial substances are used to stop the formation of plaque and tartar, when a patient suffers from ample plaque and calculus. Patients with active caries should use rinsing liquids containing fluorine. For larger spaces between the teeth interdental brushes should be used. Special interdental yarn is used to clean between the intermediate parts of the prosthetic dental bridges. Tongue brushes are used to reduce the amount of the bacterial plaque because the tongue is particularly rich in microorganisms. Small “single tooth” brushes are used for difficult-to-reach places or when a person wears braces.
3. How to take care after the oral cavity after each meal?
It is not necessary to immediately brush teeth after each meal. It is enough to brush teeth twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. In the morning, after a breakfast, you should clean your teeth thoroughly and try not to have snacks or drink sweet drinks at least 3 hours after brushing. It is recommended to rinse your mouth with plain water or mouthwash after having lunch or a snack. In the evening teeth are cleaned before going to sleep, it is not recommended to eat and drink anything; only non-carbonated water can be drunk. It should be noted that there should be no teeth brushing immediately after eating a lot of acid rich food (citrus fruit, carbonated drinks, wine, etc.), it is recommended to rinse your mouth with water and wait at least 30 min., or to neutralize the acid with milk, cheese, and only then brush your teeth.
4. What food is “a friend” and which is “an enemy” to our oral cavity?
Well-known “enemies” are sweets because “bad” bacteria causing decay existing on the teeth like sugar. Another particularly dangerous product is soft drinks, which not only have a lot of sugar as has already been mentioned, but they also contain carbon dioxide, which “melts” tooth enamel and can cause erosion. Any sticky food (chips, lollipops, toffee, etc.) that stays in the mouth for a long time stimulates the production of acids that erode enamel, so it should be avoided, and after the consumption of such food, it is the best to rinse teeth thoroughly with water, thus removing food particles from the surface of teeth.
“Friends” are all products that are low in carbohydrates. Milk, cheese, yogurt is a source of calcium. Meat, eggs, poultry has phosphorus, which, together with calcium, is the major mineral component of bone and tooth material. Tea contains fluorine, which is a key element for the prevention of dental caries. Those fruit and vegetables that are not very sweet or sour are good for teeth.
5. How often a person should visit a dentist?
The amount of preventive visits per year is quite individual and depends on the age, individual skills in oral hygiene, and the intensity of caries incidence and so on. It is recommended to schedule preventive visits at least every 6 months.
6. What is a professional oral hygiene?
It is a dental office procedure, which is performed using the ultrasonic scalar or hand-held instruments to clean all surface of teeth, dispose of formed subgingival and supragingival calculus, soft plaque, teeth are polished and the patient is trained to perform individual oral hygiene practices.
7. How often should a professional hygiene be performed?
It depends on personal hygiene habits, the formation rate of dental calculus and the severity of periodontal pathology. The dentist designates the frequency of visits according to all these factors. Typically, it is recommended to have the professional oral hygiene at least 1-2 times a year and for patients with periodontal disease may even have to visit the dentist every 3 months.
8. Does teeth whitening harm teeth?
Currently used material for teeth whitening is quite aggressive to enamel of teeth, so during a whitening procedure a small part of the enamel structure is lost, and short-term tooth sensitivity often develops after whitening. For teeth whitening to be as secure as possible, it must be carried out under the supervision of the dentist, who will select the most appropriate method of whitening and the safest concentration of material, and will explain how many times a year, it is safe to perform whitening procedures. When all recommendations and precautions are followed, a teeth whitening procedure is a safe.
9. What are the types of teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening can be divided into external and internal. An external teeth whitening is divided into home and office. In order to safely whiten teeth at home, individual moulds of teeth, which contain special whitening gel reservoir, are produced. The patient fills kappa with whitening material and snaps them on his/her teeth. The kappa is considered to be on the teeth for a few or more hours a day, depending on the severity of the whitening agent is used. Teeth whitening at home takes up to several weeks, during the procedure, the patient follows the colour of his/her teeth and the sensitivity of teeth.
External whitening may be carried out in the dentist’s office. During this procedure, gums are isolated by a special material and stronger whitening agent, which additionally can be activated by light, laser, is used, so the results can be seen after the first treatment. After teeth whitening in the dental office, the sensitivity of teeth is stronger than after gradual teeth whitening using kappa.
Internal whitening is used for individual teeth that are discoloured after trauma, endodontic treatment, or other reasons. This method of whitening can be used only for endodontically treated teeth, which have qualitatively sealed channels. This method differs from the external whitening as the whitening agent is placed in the interior of the tooth after the preparation of tooth cavity. The whitening material is “closed” inside a tooth using a temporary seal and kept there from several days to a week. The whitening agent is replaced as many times as necessary to achieve optimal whitening results. After the whitening procedure, the permanent seal in the cavity is restored.
10. Do popular dental diamonds harm tooth enamel?
A diamond is “glued” to the tooth enamel without drilling or otherwise harming it, so the procedure itself is relatively safe. Problems may arise later, if the patient does not sanitize the area thoroughly enough around the diamond, then soft plaque builds up there and can cause the demineralisation of the enamel, resulting in white spots, which then darken and, in cases of poor oral hygiene, caries develops.
We hope that this article will be useful to everyone, who wants to take care of his/her oral cavity correctly. In case of uncertainty, we recommend to consult your dentist.
She performs therapeutic treatment, endodontic treatment and retreatment, professional oral hygiene.