Preventive & Oral Hygiene Measures in Dentistry
Dental care has become highly important in the current era due to lifestyle changes. Preventive dentistry is the daily practice of taking the best care for teeth so as to maintain healthy teeth. With proper maintenance, one can evade enamel wear, tooth decay, avoid cavities and other dental problems.
Some of the major forms of preventive dentistry include brushing daily and cleaning or visiting a dentist every 6 months. By following such practices, one can make sure that the teeth are clean, healthy and strong as well. Get to know more about oral hygiene and preventive measures to treat dental problems.
Here is an excerpt from a video interview with Dr A Vishnu Sri, Consultant, Dentistry & Oral Maxillofacial Surgery at Omni Hospitals, Kukatpally on the topic ‘Preventive & Oral Hygiene Measures in Dentistry’. Get answers to all your queries about oral hygiene, preventive measures for dental care and more.
Q. Is it necessary to go to a dentist every 6 months?
A. Yes, it is very important to visit a dentist every 6 months irrespective of having any problem. The reason is that dental problems can be cured easily without any complications if it is diagnosed in early stages. Even if you are perfectly healthy, it is mandatory to get a frequent dental checkup every six months.
Q. What are the signs that makes us consult a dentist?
A. Some of the most common signs include:
- Redness and sore gums
- Tooth fracture
- Internal or External swelling
- Loose tooth
- Tooth discolouration
- Jaw related problems
Q. What are the causes of bad breath?
A. In general, bad breath is also called Halitosis. Halitosis is the most embarrassing and awkward condition that most of the people come across quite often. There are several causes of bad breath. Mostly, Halitosis is caused because of microbial dislodgement on the tongue. Hence, the dentists recommend people to clean the tongue forward and backwards. Some of the common causes of Halitosis include:
- Poor oral health
- Deposits remaining in the mouth
- Usage of drugs and tobacco products
Q. What is the cause of tooth decay?
A. Tooth decay is actually caused by the acids produced by the bacteria in the presence of sugar. When people consume more sugar, more acid will be produced that eventually leads to tooth decay.
Q. What are the preventive measures to cure tooth decay?
A. One can prevent tooth decay by brushing twice a day on a daily basis alongside flossing.
Q. Is there a better solution to treat bad breath other than mouthwash?
A. Using mouthwash is not the only solution to treat bad breath. Mouthwash may not give good results all the time. One must visit a dentist and try to identify the root cause of bad breath. Further, it is better to use a mouthwash based on the actual cause of Halitosis.
Q. How long an individual should brush their teeth?
A. Actually, there is a misconception among most of the people that brushing teeth for a long time is good for oral hygiene. There is a proper technique that helps people in maintaining good and healthy teeth. One should place their brush at 45 degrees angle from the gums and teeth.
At the time of brushing, one must give front and backstrokes. Later, brush the teeth inward, outward and chewing surfaces in the mouth. Finally, place the brush vertically and give outward and inward strokes. Brushing teeth should last around 2 to 3 minutes. If you brush for more time, it may cause severe sensitivity of teeth.
Q. Why is it important to floss the teeth every day?
A. Most of the people think that brushing is just enough to maintain healthy teeth. To be precise, brushing and flossing are equally important. While brushing, a brush can’t enter into the gaps between the teeth. Such places or gaps between the teeth can be cleaned easily through flossing. In people who have prostheses such as bridges and crowns, flossing plays a vital role.
Q. When do we need braces?
A. There is an ideal time for both men and women for the requirement of braces. For both males and females, there will be growth spots. Mostly, at the age of 13 to 15 years, one can visit a dentist whether to get braces or not. After the dental checkup, the dentist will recommend braces in some children.
Q. Are sweets and ice-creams bad for dental health?
A. There is high sugar content in sweets or ice-creams that causes acid and tooth decay. If people intake them in excess amounts, it will eventually cause tooth decay.
Q. Are there any preventive measures to cure tooth decay?
A. Regular brushing and flossing after the intake of such sugary foods can prevent the cause of tooth decay.
Q. Is Fluoride important for dental health?
A. Yes, Fluoride is very important for dental health. Fluoride prevents tooth decay and increases the teeth enamel resistance to the acid produced by the bacteria in the mouth. Some of the researches also proved that the children who consume fluoride have more decay resistance compared to others. In some cities, fluoride is present in drinking water.
It is possible to intake fluoride through some foods such as spinach, apple, skimmed milk. It is also present in the form of supplements. But, one should intake fluoride supplements only under the guidance of a physician. The reason is fluoride may cause several health problems.
Q. What are Pit and Fissure Sealants?
A. It is a thin line of coating on the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. It acts as a barrier to the bacteria that cause dental decay. In fact, it is used in both children and adults. Mostly, it is highly recommended in children because of its low cost. Moreover, it is a great measure for children to prevent dental caries.
Q. What is Teeth Whitening?
A. Teeth darkening is generally caused due to two major factors such as intrinsic and extrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains are caused when teeth are fractured, fluorinated teeth, tetracycline stains and more. All of these may cause intrinsic stains. On the other hand, extrinsic stains are caused due to tobacco products, consumption of few liquids like hot or cold coffee, tea and some foods that comprise citric acid.
It is possible to treat extrinsic or intrinsic stains through teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is actually one of the cosmetic dental treatments which is done to improve natural teeth shape. It can also be done by brightening the teeth shape in a more natural way.
Q. Who is a good candidate for teeth whitening?
A. Mostly, all the people are recommended for teeth whitening. There are some exceptionals like people having dental caries, fractured teeth and other issues. Before going to some cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening, people must check whether they have any sort of dental problems and then proceed with the treatment.
Q. Is teeth whitening harmful to health?
A. No, teeth whitening is not at all harmful to health. But, one must get the teeth whitening treatment only under the guidance of a good physician.
Q. What kind of oral care should be taken in diabetes patients?
A. Some of the researches say that diabetes is purely related to periodontal diseases. If a person is having diabetes, he/she has periodontitis. Due to periodontitis, the glucose level may increase.
Q. Do teeth whitening products really work?
A. Some of the teeth whitening toothpaste products will definitely work. But, the teeth whitening toothpaste products that are available in the commercial market may have a lot of abrasives. The over-usage of such products may cause a lot of sensitivity to teeth and sometimes end up in teeth damage. So, one must use such products only under the guidance of a doctor.
Q. What are Dental Implants?
A. Dental Implants are the latest advancements that are available in today’s era. In simple terms, a dental implant is a screw which is drilled into the bone to take the support of artificial prosthesis such as crowns or bridges. Some of the benefits of dental implants include:
- Enhances your look
- Effective way while eating food
- Helps in speech
- Great durability
Q. What kind of dental care should pregnant women take?
A. In general, pregnant women have three major concerns. Most of the pregnant women will get pregnancy-induced gingivitis. Another major concern in pregnant women is pregnancy granuloma. It is also called as Pyogenic granuloma. These two are mostly caused due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
A dentist can easily treat these two dental concerns in pregnant women. Otherwise, these two concerns may heal automatically soon after the delivery. The third major concern is erosion. It is caused due to gastric reflexes or frequent vomitings during pregnancy. As a result, it causes tooth erosion. It can be treated by using a sensitive toothpaste.
Q. Does chemotherapy and radiation affect oral health?
A. Yes, chemotherapy and radiation definitely affect the oral cavity. They cause some problems such as:
- Mouth sores
- Dry mouth
- Gum problems
At the time of the treatment process, it may not be possible to control or treat these oral problems. In those patients, the immune resistance will be very low. It is very difficult to give treatment at that point of time. However, it is possible to treat it through oral rinses to reduce infection. Before taking chemotherapy or radiation, such patients should visit a dentist and get proper treatment.
Q. Is it necessary to go for regular dental checkups despite having braces?
A. Yes, it is mandatory to visit a dentist for regular checkups after having braces. At the time of using braces, the food we consume may get trapped within the braces and wirings. So, it is recommended to maintain proper oral prophylaxes for oral health.
Q. How to treat when an individual knocked out a tooth?
A. Knocking out a tooth generally happens during road accidents or when you fell down. Whenever a tooth falls down, you must wash it in running water without rubbing it. Try to place the tooth in the person’s mouth between the cheek or underneath the tongue.
If the patient is unable to place it in the mouth, just place it in milk and bring it to the dentist for replacing it. The dentist will replace it into the socket and can be reimplanted. This way, it is possible to save the tooth.
Q. Is tooth sensitivity related to headache? How to reduce tooth sensitivity?
A. Tooth sensitivity is the most common problem in the current generation. Usually, dentists suggest a sensitive toothpaste for people who have tooth sensitivity. They ask the patient to follow up for about 1 week to 10 days. Still, if it is not treated, they recommend getting proper treatment under the guidance of a dentist. There are three major causes of tooth sensitivity. It includes:
It is mostly seen in old people. It is quite common in old people as a normal part of ageing. The chewing surfaces of the teeth will lose its sensitivity. It eventually causes tooth sensitivity.
It is caused due to the consumption of carbonated drinks such as cokes, cool drinks and more. Some of the high citric acid foods also cause tooth erosion.
Abrasion is generally caused due to the combination of chemical and mechanical wear.
Q. Is it possible for an individual to have naturally yellow teeth by birth?
A. In fact, it is similar to pigmentation and melanin. People may get yellow teeth by birth. In some cases, people may have dark yellow teeth or light yellow teeth. It usually differs from one person to another and it is a genetic element.
Q. How often should we visit a dentist?
A. It is recommended to visit a dentist twice a year i.e., every 6 months.
Q. In what circumstances we meet oral surgeons?
A. Oral surgeons are usually preferred during the extraction of wisdom teeth. Besides this, oral surgeons play an important role when patients come across fractures or jaw-related issues.
Q. What are the best ways to practice oral hygiene at home?
A. There is an extensive range of oral hygiene aids. Firstly, one must choose proper brushes that have medium to soft bristles. In general, people use lots of toothpaste on their brushes. A single pea size of toothpaste is enough for cleaning your teeth. If you place more toothpaste, it becomes slippery and doesn’t clean your teeth. Some other aids include interdental brushes.
They work in a much effective way in people who have crowns and bridges. Flossing is also very important as it helps in cleaning the deposits that are present between the teeth which a brush can’t enter into the gaps. It is also important to rinse the mouth using mouthwash. By following these measures, people can maintain good oral health at home.
Q. Is it necessary to go for cleaning every 6 months?
A. In fact, cleaning the teeth depends on the individual. If you maintain your oral health by using some home remedies, it may not be necessary to go for cleaning every 6 months. The person’s maintenance at home is the deciding factor whether to go for the teeth cleaning or not.
Q. Do we need special care for maintaining the oral health of kids?
A. In fact, there are two dentitions such as primary and permanent dentitions. In kids, it is recommended to use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is highly effective in dental caries. Before purchasing such kinds of toothpaste, one must check the description and select it.
It is very important to check the percentage and use it. The pit and fissure sealants are mostly recommended for children between 6 to 12 years of age. If they have sealants on the surface of teeth, it prevents further decay of the teeth.
Q. Does a tooth cavity or decay cause bleeding?
A. In the initial stages, it may not cause any sort of bleeding. If it enters into the dentin or pulp, it may cause severe pain. In the worst scenario, it may sometimes cause bleeding.
Q. What are dental caries and dental cleaning?
A. Dental cleaning is nothing but cleaning the calculus or debris. On the other hand, dental caries is also known as decay. They can be seen visually. If the teeth have discoloured, brown or black spots then, people can visit a dentist. The dentist can treat it initially by removing the small decay and filling it.
Q. Is it a problem when someone has dark gums?
A. Some people have a major concern about having dark gums, especially with their appearance. It is related to cosmetic treatment. There are possibilities to lighten up the dark gums through some treatments.
Q. Is it important to take Dental X-rays?
A. The decay that we see with our naked eye doesn’t actually show whether it is in enamel, pulp or dentin. So, by taking dental x-rays, it is possible to get a better understanding of the decays.
Q. Should I use mouthwash daily or brushing twice is enough?
A. It is very important to mouthwash on a daily basis. In fact, there is a proper order and procedure in doing it. Initially, brush the teeth, floss and finally mouthwash. One must follow this order twice a day i.e., early in the morning and before going to bed at the night.
Q. At what age children should visit a dentist?
A. In fact, it depends on the child. In the early days, the scenario was completely different. But, nowadays, we have several changes in the lifestyle of people. If there is any sort of discolouration of teeth in kids, they can visit or consult a dentist. However, the age of the kids must be above 3 years to visit a dentist.
Q. Why do we need a root canal?
A. If the decay is in the pulp, a root canal must be done to decrease the pain.
Q. How to avoid a root canal?
A. To avoid a root canal, one should take good care of the decay. It is very important to identify the decay in the early stage and visit a dentist to get proper treatment without getting a root canal. This way, we can prevent caries not extending to the pulp. If it is in the early stage, it is possible to give conservative treatment.
Q. When does a baby’s teeth typically fall?
A. In general, the falling of teeth differs from one baby to another. It also depends on age. The upper front teeth usually fall between 9 and 11 years and they will get permanent teeth. The next teeth will shed off between 10 to 12 years. There is a particular sequence for the shedding of teeth and the arrival of new or permanent teeth.
Q. Is obesity linked to dental problems?
A. In fact, there is no direct link between obesity and dental problems. But, it all depends on what you eat. If you intake excess sugar foods, it may cause dental-related problems.
Q. What are the cleaning aids that are available in supermarkets?
A. There are a lot of commercial cleaning aids present in supermarkets. But, at the time of choosing the brushes, one must prefer interdental brushes that are available in various sizes. Flosses are of two types i.e., waxed floss and unwaxed floss. Waxed flosses are good for people who have crowns and bridges so that they can be cleaned easily.
Besides these aids, mouthwashes are available for temporary purposes. It is also important to choose the bristles for your brushes. It is good to select a brush that has a medium to hard bristles. The tip of the toothbrush must be narrow as it should reach the last tooth. Before purchasing the cleaning aids for your teeth, you must keep all these elements in mind and maintain proper oral health and dental care.