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Maintaining good oral hygiene is the key for enhanced gum and dental health. Tooth erosion is characterised by decay of the outer and inner parts of the teeth. It occurs when certain sugar containing foods such as milk, candy and cakes leave behind residual quantities, thus causing small food particles to get stuck to and remain in the teeth. These are then digested by the bacteria in the mouth and converted to acids. The acids in combination with saliva form a layer called plaque that causes tooth erosion.
To prevent tooth erosion, you can employ these simple methods:
- Regular flossing: Flossing is an often neglected aspect of dental hygiene. Flossing helps in removing food residues stuck between the teeth that your toothbrush cannot clean. Use proper technique while flossing as improper technique can damage your gums.
- Brushing twice a day: You should brush at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride. If possible, brush regularly after eating a meal.
- Eat well balanced meals: Eat well balanced meals for your gums to receive proper nourishment. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet as they are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. These antioxidants and vitamins help maintain overall gum and dental health.
- Fluoridated water: Drink fluoridated water, as it helps in preventing tooth erosion.
- Use Mouthwash regularly: Use an antiseptic mouthwash to keep your mouth bacteria free. Bacteria in your mouth can lead to rapid tooth erosion.
- Rinse your mouth: Rinse your mouth with water after every meal. Rinsing helps in removing food particles from your mouth that may contribute to tooth erosion.
- Avoid junk food: Avoid snacking on junk foods as they contain hidden sugars that can increase your risks of tooth erosion. Avoid sugar based drinks as they can harm your teeth and cause cavities.
- Dental sealants: A sealant is a coating that is applied on the tooth to prevent it from getting affected by plaque. They usually last for 8-10 years after which they need to be replaced.
- Visit the dentist regularly: Visit the dentist on a regular basis for check-ups as any underlying issue that can create potential problems in the future may need to be resolved.
I am a boy of 18 years. There is a pain in my gums. I have been avoiding the spicy food but it didn't work. Sometimes when I brush my teeth a blood is seen. Can you help me.
If chewing food and retaining a sparkling smile is not enough for you, avoiding toothaches and a visit to the dentist could be reason enough to maintain healthy teeth. Ignoring your tooth health can lead to many problems. Answer yourself the following question. Would you like your teeth inside your mouth or in a glass tumbler beside your bed at nighttime?
If you opted for the former, then going through the following tips and advices will go a long way in helping you sustain healthy teeth. They are:
- Brush and floss twice a day: Brushing and flossing twice a day, on a regular basis will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums in the long run. The ideal time to brush your teeth is 20 minutes after a meal. Opting for a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles gives you better access to even the deeper portions of your mouth, thus providing comprehensive cleansing to your teeth. Moreover, softer bristles are generous on your gums as well.
- Nutrition: Whatever you eat, either protects you or makes you more susceptible to diseases and disorders. This stands true for your oral health as well. As such, choosing the right foods early in your life is of vital importance. Foods such as cold drinks, cakes, candies and other such sugary substances facilitate the growth of germ and bacteria in your mouth, resulting in plaque and cavities. Choosing foods that are low in starch and sugar will reduce the development of germs and help eradicate cavities or plaque in the long run.
- Smoking: Even the pack of smoke that you buy endorses smoking is injurious to your general health. Smoking causes reduced flow of blood to the mouth, which resultantly leads to increased chances of periodontal disease and mouth cancer. Smoking, moreover causes a decline in the ability of the bones and tissues to revascularize (self-heal). All else apart, just stop smoking.
- Chewing gums: Chewing gums are highly beneficial especially after a meal. They not only increase the flow of saliva in your mouth, but also improves the flow of blood to your brain, thus enhancing your alertness by close to 10%. In addition, chewing gums help neutralize the acid in your mouth, thus helping you cleanse your mouth.
The primary or milk teeth begins to erupt at about 6 months of life with the complete set in place by 2.5 years of age, and the entire set is replaced by the age of 14. The benefits of some of the preventive dental measures are outlined below.
- Maternal care during pregnancy: The teeth begin to form during the second trimester of pregnancy. It is very important that the maternal diet includes sufficient amounts of calcium, potassium, and fluoride for optimal tooth mineralization. Good tooth structure has greater resistance to decay than hypomineralized teeth.
- Routine oral hygiene: For the first 6 months, though there are no teeth, after each nursing, end it with a spoonful or two of water to wash down the milk. Gradually, the gums can be just wiped with a gauze pad or soft cotton to remove any residual bacteria. The baby also gets used to this habit, and once the teeth are in, there are lesser bacteria for the decay process to begin. Once the teeth begin to erupt, the nursing habits also need to be modified to ensure the baby is not allowed to go to sleep with a bottle. This is a common practice to put the baby to sleep and should be avoided to reduce the occurrence of nursing bottle caries.
- Fluoride application: Fluoride has been shown to have significant benefits in preventing caries. Once routine dental visits begin, then the dentist will be able to tell if fluoride needs to be applied. This can happen either in the form of a gel or varnish that is applied in the dental office or as a paste that is used at home. This helps in building resistance to decay.
- Pit and fissure sealants: The tooth has a number of pits and fissures which are 8 times more vulnerable to decay than other surfaces. Deep pits are shown to harbor more bacteria and thereby greater incidence of caries. There are sealants which are thin resins that can be applied on the tooth, which can reduce bacteria accumulation and further decay.
- Space maintainers: In the event that a child has lost a tooth, either due to trauma or decay and subsequent infection, then a space maintainer should be placed within the next 3 months. This helps in maintaining the space and establishing a good bite during the transition phase and later, once the permanent teeth are in place.
- Orthodontic treatment: If there is malocclusion, then early intervention helps by reducing treatment time and getting better results as the teeth and periodontium are still very elastic and are more malleable to movement.
By doing these preventive measures early in life, the result is a child who has healthier teeth, less decay, less pain, and a happy smile all the time! If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dentist and ask a free question.