The best way to reduce decay and gum disease, and to maintain the health of your mouth, is to attend regular dental appointments. Preventive dentistry ensures we can catch any potential problems before they develop and so the amount of treatment required is reduced. This means you can potentially reduce the number of extractions and fillings you may need, and are more likely to keep your own teeth for longer.
Your dentist and hygienist will work together to create a recommended course of treatment, or maintenance plan, to keep your teeth in the best condition possible. Your dentist will carry out a 12-point dental health check to assess your mouth and will then discuss any necessary treatment with you, to try to prevent any reoccurring problems. Any fillings you have will also be checked, making sure they are in good repair.
Your hygienist will remove any hard plaque from your teeth and will then show you some skills, techniques and tools to help you improve the health of your teeth and gums and keep plaque at bay. Plaque is an invisible layer of bacteria, which when mixed with sugar, turns into acid. This can then cause tooth decay, or infect the gums if it is not removed regularly. Your hygienist will also discuss dietary and lifestyle habits that might affect your teeth, and advise you on which dental health care products are best suited to you.
Gum disease is caused by a build up of plaque and is usually avoided if you brush and floss your teeth twice a day. There are various symptoms of gum disease, including swelling, redness, soreness and bleeding during brushing, but there are only two main forms of it: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, causing the symptoms described above. If you have gingivitis for a long time, it can turn into periodontal disease, which affects the tissues supporting the teeth. Over time this can lead to the deterioration of the bone that teeth are anchored to in the jaw, eventually causing teeth to become loose or even fall out completely. Periodontal disease causes more tooth loss than tooth decay, so you should ensure you maintain your daily routine of brushing and flossing to prevent the build up of plaque.