Many times, we’ve been told to brush our teeth and how important it is to floss them. We grow up imitating our parents’ way of brushing and learn our nutritional habits from them, too. Our dentists and hygienists remind us at every visit that it’s important to brush and floss daily. If we’ve all been through the same direction, why do our oral health profiles look so different?
The answer lies in genetics and lifestyle.
When we think of genetic differences, we can think of them in terms of inherited conditions. These conditions may affect all members of the family, or may not be present in all family members (but make the genetic disorder’s development more likely).
Examples of genetic disorders include cleft lip and palate, anodontia (missing teeth), and poor bite. Periodontal (gum) disease and numerous cavities also show a degree of inheritability. In these cases, it is important to be followed by a dentist as early as possible in order to make important modifications to your oral care plan.
Aside from genetic differences, lifestyle choices in the way we lead our every day is the other determinant of oral health.
Eating and Drinking
You might brush your teeth regularly, but if you spend the time between brushings eating candy and drinking sodas it likely won’t be enough. Even a diet high in doughs, like pastas and breads, or potato chips will contribute to attacks on the teeth, so avoiding sweets isn’t enough. Diets high in vegetables and lean meats like fish or poultry are best to support your oral and systemic health.
To maintain good oral hygiene, you need to brush your teeth a minimum of twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. Flossing should be done a minimum of once daily in the evening. Patients often don’t believe that flossing is necessary until they begin to have cavities between the teeth – so do yourself a favour and start now. After all, 40% of your teeth are inaccessible to your toothbrush.
Understanding the way that cavities are formed can go a long way in helping patients avoid them. It can sometimes be difficult to understand plaque without seeing it directly. You can envision that gritty feeling that is on your teeth when you haven’t brushed them as a coating of plaque. Plaque is mostly transparent but could be yellowish. This coating is like a thin film that covers your teeth and gums – particularly in areas where there are lots of places to hide (e.g., among crooked teeth).
Plaque is formed when the bacteria in your mouth eat up sugar compounds from the foods you eat and liquids you drink. They consume the sugars and leave a highly acidic by-product in their wake. This acid sits on the teeth and gums to irritate and erode them. Gums do become red and irritated over time, which shows sings of gingivitis. If not corrected, gingivitis could lead to gum disease and a potential loss of teeth along with infection.
The acid that irritates tissues can also burn through enamel over time. The acids begin to wear away at the enamel until it penetrates into dentin. Dentin is less resilient than enamel and the cavity progresses more quickly through it. Any food debris and bacteria that is packed into the cavity will continue to feed this erosion until it is cleaned away or the cavity is filled.
If a cavity progresses into the core of the tooth, it can cause a painful condition and become infected. In order to resolve this deep cavity, a root canal must be performed to stop the infection from impacting other tissues.
A root canal involves opening the cavity to clean and excavate any diseased tissue. The cavity is then disinfected and filled with a compound called gutta percha – a rubber-like substance. Sometimes, a filling can provide the final closure, but more often than not a crown is required to give the tooth the strength and structure it needs to remain effective in the mouth without breaking. Crown technology allows your dentist to make a natural-looking restoration that matches your natural colour and shape.
Can I See Any Dentist Near Me in Edmonton?
If you suspect that you may have a cavity developing, see your dentist as soon as possible to avoid tooth infection. When you are looking for general services such as fillings, cleanings and dental check-ups, a general dentist will be able to help you. The trick is finding one that is currently accepting new patients. If you are looking for a dentist in southside Edmonton, D&D Dental Clinic would be happy to see you as a new patient. Our Millwoods Dentist is, both, a family dentist in South Edmonton and a dentist for children.