If our face is an index of the mind, our oral health is an indicator of our overall health, say city dentists. The ability to chew well and the confidence of a bright smile is totally dependent on the condition of the mouth…dental checkup is often neglected by many, but it is important to have one every six months.
“It helps us diagnose problems that may be in the initial stage and hence proves to be cost effective as well. Kids below the age of six require preventive and sometimes temporary curative treatment to save their milk teeth. From then on, till they turn 16, they need preventive treatment,” she said.
While adults normally require and mostly seek cosmetic and curative treatments, the elderly require curative and prosthetic treatments.
A good set of teeth is a functional necessity for proper delivery of the food that we eat for the purpose of digestion. It also affects one’s social interactions…
He says that common dental problems include dental decay, gum diseases, bad breath, tooth erosion, tooth sensitivity, missing teeth, protruding teeth, an unattractive smile, discolouration of teeth, trauma to the teeth and such. Cosmetic treatment of irregular teeth and complete smile makeover cater to the requirements of the adult population which is increasingly becoming conscious of its looks.
Various dental procedures like restoration of decayed teeth, root canal treatment, extraction of grossly decayed and infected teeth or wisdom teeth, cleaning of teeth, crowns and bridges, fixing of removable and fixed partial dentures, complete dentures, implants, teeth whitening, teeth veneers and orthodontic treatment can take care of a lot of the above conditions.
Tooth decay starts when food particles are left on the tooth, especially sugary foods, wherein bacteria from plaque turn them into acid which attacks the enamel. If recognised early, it can be removed and the tooth can be restored with a silver filling or a tooth coloured filling. If left untreated, the decay reaches the pulp of the tooth. The tooth then needs a Root Canal treatment london or RCT.
An RCT is where the infected pulp or nerve is removed, the canals are cleaned with tiny files and are then filled with a rubber plastic material called gutta percha. The tooth is then protected by a crown.
If a tooth is severely damaged and infected, then it is extracted. The tooth can then be replaced by fixing a bridge or by placing an implant or a false denture.
Plaque is a thin bacterial film seen on the surface of the tooth. Bacteria in the plaque release substances that infect the gums causing inflammation known as Gingivitis. If plaque is not removed, it hardens to form tartar. The infection spreads to the underlying bone supporting the tooth leading to periodontal diseases. Hence, regular check up and cleaning is necessary.
This is for people with internal staining, developmental defects leading to discolouration and fluorosis stains using hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.
A veneer is a thin laminate of porcelain or ceramic that is used to cover the surface of a tooth to enhance a discoloured, chipped or a broken tooth…
Dental health for senior citizens
Dental caries and periodontal problems (gum diseases) are frequently seen in adults and senior citizens… the treatment is about replacing missing teeth to maintain form, function and aesthetics. “They have several options and dental implants are helpful. For any treatment, they should review their oral health and gum care status,” she says.
Commonly seen dental problems in children are dental caries and complications of early loss of milk teeth. Early restoration and preventive procedures can stall complications. Fluorides, in the right concentration, have some benefit in protecting the surface of teeth against dental decay. Fluoridated toothpastes are not usually recommended for very young children. The important aspect is the frequency and technique of brushing…
The dentist’s roster of dos and don’ts
■ Eat a balanced diet for good oral health. Your meal must include foods rich in vitamins and minerals like fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk and dairy products, meat and fish.
■ Brush your teeth twice a day. Daily flossing removes plaque and food particles from teeth surfaces that cannot be reached by a tooth brush. Use a mouthwash to prevent plaque and freshen breath.
■ Don’t eat sweets or sticky foods between meals. Limit frequency of snacking on foods high in sugar or starch. Candies, mints, caramel toffees stick to teeth and cause decay.
■ Visit the dentist regularly. Regular dental check up will help the dentist recognise and identify potential dental and oral health problems and treat them.
■ Clean your tongue every day.
■ Brush regularly … Flavours added to the paste encourage brushing. Fluoride toothpastes also give added protection against tooth decay. Medicated tooth pastes are available to be used by people with tooth sensitivity.
■ Dental flossing is good, but not compulsory. It is essential only for people with artificial implants like crowns, tooth caps and bridges in their teeth.
■ Diabetics should ensure good oral hygiene as they are more prone to gum diseases
■ Patients with heart disease should ensure regular dental check up. Poor oral hygiene can affect cardiac health.
■ Have regular scaling and dental check up done during pregnancy to ensure oral health is maintained.
Bad breath: Is it curable?
Bad breath is one of the most common dental problems also known as Halitosis. It is an embarrassing condition that can affect anybody.
Some causes of bad breath are:
■ Sticky and junk food and indigestion,
■ Odours from garlic, onions and certain spices in the food,
■ Faulty brushing and flossing habits,
■ Periodontal diseases where there is accumulation of plaque, bacteria and decomposing food,
■ Dry mouth known as Xerostomia,
■ Cigarette smoking,
■ Underlying medical conditions in diabetics, people with chronic kidney failure and gastroenterointestinal problems,
■ Medical conditions like sinusitis, gastritis, pneumonia and bronchitis.
Foods that harm, that heal
Cheese, chicken and other meats, nuts, and milk protect tooth enamel by providing calcium. Fruits like apples and pears and vegetables with high water content, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain and stimulate the flow of saliva which protects against decay by washing away food particles and buffering acid. Have acidic foods like citrus
fruits, tomatoes and lemons as part of a larger meal to minimise the acid from them. On the other hand, food high in sweet or carbohydrate content like cookies, cakes, breads, potato chips, bananas, raisins provide a fuel source for bacteria...read more