Dental problems can be very painful and take the smile off your face completely. Those who have experienced sensitivity would vouch for it. It just will not allow you to enjoy the hot coffee or a favourite sweet or a cold smoothie. The pain that shoots down the tooth after any of these would leave the person shuddering.
The tooth has 3 layers, from the outside in these are the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp. The outermost enamel is mineralized and the hardest structure in the body. The next layer, dentin, has fine tubules, and when the enamel is worn off exposing the dentin, sensitivity sets in. The enamel is thinner in some portions of the tooth like the neck and the roots, therefore sensitivity onset is quicker in these areas. Some of the common reasons for sensitivity are listed below.
- Tooth decay: As caries progresses from enamel to dentin, sensitivity sets in, especially to hot and cold foods.
- Wear and tear: Excessive brushing of teeth can lead to wearing of teeth, especially near the neck areas, leading to loss of enamel and resulting in sensitivity.
- Dental damage: Chipped or broken tooth can lead to sensitivity.
- Gingival disease: This leads to loss of gum cover over the tooth, leading to exposure of dentin and therefore sensitivity.
- Bruxism: Clenching of teeth, common in people with high levels of stress, can lead to enamel wearing and subsequent sensitivity.
- Dental treatment: Some dental procedures like scaling, crowns, root planing, and some fillings can cause transient sensitivity.
- Highly acidic food items: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, tea, etc. can lead to tooth sensitivity.
- Bleaching agents: Most tooth whitening agents result in sensitive teeth.
- Excessive use of mouthwash: The mouth rinses contain high amount of alcohol which can also lead to tooth sensitivity.
Management: As with all health conditions, the first step in management is to identify the problem. Whether it is dental decay or recent dental treatment, food habits or tooth whitening agents, the cause needs to be identified and then treatment begun accordingly.
- For lost enamel, be it decay or damage, the tooth again needs to be restored to its original form to cover the dentinal tubules and reduce sensitivity.
- For habits, be it food related or bruxism, in addition to treating the tooth, the habit per se needs to be addressed to prevent recurrence.
- For associated dental products like whitening agents or mouth rinses, talk to a dentist to switch to a less harmful product.
- De-sensitizing pastes are also available that can be used on a regular basis to reduce the problem.
Tooth sensitivity is annoying but there are ways to manage it effectively.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Early Childhood Caries. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Their first teeth also help make sure their adult teeth come in correctly. It’s important to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for decades to come.
You can help prevent your baby from getting cavities or developing what is called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries, by beginning an oral hygiene routine within the first few days after birth. Start by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean gauze pad. This helps removes plaque that can harm erupting teeth. When your child's teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child's size toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. For bottle feedings, place only formula, milk or breast milk inside and avoid using sugary beverages such as juice or soda. Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottle before going to bed.
Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s permanent tooth. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to take your child to the dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.
Here are some tips if your child experiences a common dental emergency:
Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects. It may help them relax or make them feel safe or happy. Most children stop sucking by age 4. If your child continues to thumb suck that after the permanent teeth have come in, it can cause problems with tooth alignment and your child’s bite. The frequency, duration and intensity of a habit will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. If you are worried about your child’s sucking habits, talk to your dentist or consult your child's pediatrician.
Space maintainers help “hold space” for permanent teeth. Your child may need one if he or she loses a baby tooth prematurely, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. If a primary tooth is lost too early, adult teeth can erupt into the empty space instead of where they should be. When more adult teeth are ready to come into the mouth, there may not be enough room for them because of the lost space. To prevent this from happening, the dentist may recommend a space maintainer to hold open the space left by the missing tooth.
Sealants are a fast and easy way of protecting your child’s teeth that act as barriers to cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves. Sealing a tooth is fast and there is virtually no discomfort. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing but may have to be reapplied if needed. Both primary and permanent teeth can benefit from sealants. Ask your dentist if sealants will help your child.
Mouthguards can help protect your child from a dental emergency. They should be worn whenever your child is participating in sports and recreational activities. Mouthguards cushion blows that would otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures. If your child participates in such pastimes, ask your dentist about custom-fitted mouth protectors.
Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crowded, crooked or out of alignment, or the jaws don’t meet properly. This may become particularly noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. If not treated early, a bad bite can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean where teeth are crooked or crowded, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.
Bad bites can also:
Anesthesia and Sedation
Your dentist might recommend that your child be administered anesthesia or sedation to relax them in order to safely complete some dental procedures.
Sugar is an all pervasive substance that is found in most food items although specific ones such as candies, colas and sweet delicacies tend to have more of it. While it may taste great on the tongue, it may not be so good for your body as well as your teeth. Teeth are especially affected by sugar as an ingredient in all items of food. Some of the ways it affects your dental health are discussed below –
Sugar from colas, sodas and other carbonated beverages: Sugar that gets into your body in the form of carbonated beverages are the worst in terms of the nooks and crannies that it gets into. As it is in liquid form, it can swirl around the toughest corner and deposit sugar there. This will encourage the growth of harmful bacteria, causing a host of problems.
Dissolving tooth enamel: Tooth enamel is the topmost layer of teeth. This is the layer which is visible to the naked eye and is white in color. Foods such as chewy candies can leave a hard lump of sugar lodged in your teeth which the saliva in your mouth will not be able to dissolve away. This will keep producing acids and result in the dissolving of the enamel. Enamel protects the nerves of the teeth and thus will result in extreme pain and even tooth decay.
Encourages the growth of plaque: Plaque is an obstructive and sticky substance that forms on many parts of your body, including the teeth. Plaque is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and these bacteria feed and grow on the sugar from the foods that you eat. These bacteria can cause cavities, gum infections, bad breath, destroy the enamel among causing other dental problems as well.
Some of the other related problems that can be caused by sugar on your dental health are:-
Reduction in the size of your back teeth due to erosion from acids formed from sugar.
Gum infections of various kinds which may end up requiring surgery.
Changes in the bite of a person i.e. the way upper and lower teeth come together.
Sugar may also affect the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which in turn may also cause digestion problems.
Causes bad breath due to buildup of bacteria.
How can I prevent cavities?
How to prevent plaque deposition on teeth?
Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth. This sticky coating contains millions of bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay, gum disease and making an acid that is corrosive to your teeth earlier. If they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing, then professional cleaning of teeth is required.
Healthy smile depends on good oral hygiene. So brushing properly, flossing, dentist visit and using mouthwash are basic to maintaining good oral hygiene.
The best way to remove plaque from teeth is as follows.
A missing tooth can be responsible for causing different health issues. Along with these, a person loses his ability of chewing with missing teeth, develop problems related to speaking and his overall facial appearance also gets affected.
In case of a missing tooth or several missing teeth, it is best advised to get dentures fitted. Dentures are false teeth, which are fitted in the oral cavity in place of lost natural teeth.
A missing tooth should never be ignored and in case you lose a tooth, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. By filling up a missing tooth, you will be able to save yourself from several issues related to the mouth and gums.
Your mouth, teeth, and gums are more than just tools for eating. They’re essential for chewing and swallowing—the first steps in the digestion process.
Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume. So what you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also that of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your mouth. Here are a few helpful things to know about how what you eat can impact your dental health. Your individual nutrition and calorie need depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity and other health factors, but according to MyPlate, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced and healthy diet should include: Fruits and vegetables. Combined, these should cover half your plate at meals. Grains, At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice. Dairy, Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods most often. Protein. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry, and fish. Vary your protein choices to also include eggs, beans, peas, and legumes. Eat at least eight ounces of seafood a week. In addition to diet, it’s also important to stay active for good health. Adults should get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. The foods you eat and the beverages you drink can have a direct influence on the incidence and progression of tooth decay, depending upon:
For dental health, it’s recommended that people limit eating and drinking between meals. Of course, sometimes eating between meals must happen. Unfortunately, most people choose foods like sweets and chips for snacks; foods that harm teeth by promoting tooth decay. If you do snack, make it a nutritious choice—such as cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables or nuts—for your overall health and the health of your teeth.
Never put your kid to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice, Since it can cause tooth decay. The sugar content in the milk or juices can cause all the front teeth to decay, causing nursing bottle caries or early childhood caries.
Using an appropriate tooth paste is very necessary for the health of our teeth. Tooth pastes which contain flouride help in keeping the teeth healthy by reducing the risk of tooth decay.