Dental problems are never any fun, but the good news is that most of them can be easily prevented. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating properly, and regular dental check-ups are essential steps in preventing dental problems.
These 3 common dental problems are easy to identify. But are they easy to treat and solve? Find out how to deal with tooth decay, bad breath and tooth sensitivity.
Tooth decay is damage to a tooth caused by dental plaque turning sugars into acid.
If plaque is allowed to build up, it can lead to problems, such as holes in the teeth (dental caries) and gum disease.
The likelihood of developing a cavity depends entirely on lifestyle. The better your oral health routine, the less chance you will have of suffering tooth decay. However, older people and children are slightly more at risk, because their enamel is more vulnerable. If a child develops cavities within baby teeth, they will be repaired as soon as the adult teeth emerge, but this does not mean that dental attention isn’t still essential.
The best possible approach to dealing with plaque is prevention. Once you have cavities, there is no real way to reverse them (though new technologies may make this a reality soon). The only option is to fill and repair them, so save your enamel while you still can.
If you are unlucky to develop a cavity, you must have it treated by a dentist. If you leave it to deteriorate, it could progress into an infection or abscess. These conditions cause a lot of pain and discomfort for patients. This is why timely repair procedures are essential, whether they take the form of a standard filling, a crown, or a tooth extraction. The dental code states that extractions should always be a last resort, so it is fairly rare for decayed teeth to be pulled.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and going to your regular dental check-ups.
Tooth decay is much easier and cheaper to treat in its early stages.
Your dentist can usually identify tooth decay and further problems with a simple examination or X-ray.
It’s also important to have regular dental check-ups. Adults should have a check-up at least once every 2 years, and children under the age of 18 should have a check-up at least once a year.
Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay. Your dentist in Camberwell can recommend further treatments that may help reduce your risk.
Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be downright embarrassing. According to dental studies, about 85 percent of people with persistent bad breath have a dental condition that is to blame. Gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, dry mouth, and bacteria on the tongue are some of the dental problems that can cause bad breath.
To reduce or prevent bad breath:
- Brush your teeth after you eat. Keep a toothbrush at work to use after eating. Brush using a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals. Toothpaste with antibacterial properties has been shown to reduce bad breath odors.
- Floss at least once a day. Proper flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth, helping to control bad breath.
- Brush your tongue. Your tongue harbors bacteria, so carefully brushing it may reduce odors. People who have a coated tongue from a significant overgrowth of bacteria (from smoking or dry mouth, for example) may benefit from using a tongue scraper. Or use a toothbrush that has a built-in tongue cleaner.
- Clean dentures or dental appliances. If you wear a bridge or a denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist. If you have a dental retainer or mouth guard, clean it each time before you put it in your mouth. Your dentist can recommend the best cleaning product.
- Avoid dry mouth. To keep your mouth moist, avoid tobacco and drink plenty of water — not coffee, soft drinks or alcohol, which can lead to a drier mouth. Chew gum or suck on candy (preferably sugarless) to stimulate saliva. For chronic dry mouth, your dentist or physician may prescribe an artificial saliva preparation or an oral medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.
- Adjust your diet. Avoid foods such as onions and garlic that can cause bad breath. Eating a lot of sugary foods is also linked with bad breath.
- Regularly get a new toothbrush. Change your toothbrush when it becomes frayed, about every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Schedule regular dental checkups. See your dentist on a regular basis — generally twice a year — to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned.
Using mouthwash to cover up bad breath when a dental problem is present will only mask the odor and not cure it. If you have chronic bad breath, visit your Riversdale Dental dentist to rule out any of these problems.
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people. Basically, tooth sensitivity involves experiencing pain or discomfort to your teeth from sweets, cold air, hot drinks, cold drinks or ice cream.
Some people with sensitive teeth even experience discomfort from brushing and flossing. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated.
Sensitive teeth can also be a sign of a cracked tooth or a tooth abscess, which needs to be treated by your dentist to prevent losing a tooth or getting an infection in your jaw bone.
If your tooth sensitivity is mild, you can try over-the-counter dental treatments.
Choose toothpaste that’s labeled as being specifically made for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes won’t have any irritating ingredients, and may have desensitizing ingredients that help block the discomfort from traveling to the nerve of the tooth.
When it comes to mouthwash, choose an alcohol-free mouth rinse, as it will be less irritating to sensitive teeth.
Using softer toothbrushes and brushing more gently can also help. Soft toothbrushes will be labeled as such.
It typically takes several applications for these remedies to work. You should see an improvement within a week.
If home treatments don’t work, you can talk to your dentist about prescription toothpaste and mouthwash. They may also apply fluoride gel or prescription-grade desensitizing agents in-office. These can help to strengthen the enamel and protect your teeth.
If you suddenly develop tooth sensitivity, make an appointment with your Camberwell dentist to see if there is a source that needs to be treated.
If you have any oral health concerns and you would like to speak with one of our friendly dentists, please call our Camberwell clinic on (03) 9882 5566
At Riversdale Dental we specialise in all areas of children’s dental, cosmetic dentistry, dentures, crowns, root canal and teeth whitening procedures. Book here for a check up with one our family dentists today.