Decay & related common oral diseases are 100% preventable.
There are 2 major diseases affecting your mouth:
- Dental decay
- Gum and jaw bone disease (Gingivitis & Periodontal disease)
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Dental Decay is also known as dental caries, holes or cavities. If teeth are not cleaned effectively, a slimy layer of germs build and grow on the teeth, this is called plaque or recently referred to as “Biofilm”.
- When foods and drinks that contain sugar are consumed, the germs use this sugar to make acids
- The acids dissolve the minerals from the teeth, and make them weak
- This is how holes can grow over time
- If left untreated, it will result in continuous breakdown of tooth structure, and may lead to infection or death of a tooth
Dental Decay Equation
Top Causes of Decay
Ineffective Oral Hygiene Behaviours
- Not brushing or flossing
- Incorrect brushing technique
- Incorrect and damaging flossing technique
- Brushing and flossing for a short period (under 2 minutes)
- Can be caused by medications
- Dehydration – not having enough water
- Mouth breathing
- Sugary, fizzy and sports drinks
- Sweets and sugary snacks
- Diet lacking in natural teeth building, mineral rich foods
Not consuming Fluoridated water
- Drinking only filtered / bottled water
Gum and jaw bone Disease
Gum and bone (periodontal) disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that support our teeth. Our gums aren’t attached to the teeth as strongly as we might think. A shallow, triangular space exists between our teeth and the gums. The germs from plaque burrow into this space and release toxins that cause infection into this space. The infection can affect the gums alone, or the gums and the jaw bone surrounding the teeth.
Factors that worsen the effects of gum and bone diseases include:
- Smokers are 2-7 times more likely to develop periodontitis than non-smokers, due to a dulled immune response and less oxygen in the mouth.
- Diabetes exacerbates periodontal disease. If a person’s blood sugar level is poorly controlled, a greater infection, poor healing, and a greater loss of bone and connective tissues are likely.
- Stress increases certain hormones that make a person more susceptible to infection.
- Puberty, pregnancy and birth control pills can also increase certain hormones that exaggerate the effects of the bacteria.
- Individuals who are immunocompromised have difficulty fighting off the infection.
- Steroids, anti-seizure medicines, cancer medicines, and blood pressure medicines can all affect the gums.
- Some prescription drugs decrease the flow of saliva, irritating the mouth and drying out the oral tissues thus making it more prone to infection.
Early diagnosis of gum and bone disease is of fundamental importance, and regular appointments are advisable to both achieve, and maintain good health.
There are two main types of gum and jaw bone disease:
- This is a common gum disease caused by bacteria in plaque – a sticky film of food, saliva and germs that forms on the teeth
- If plaque is not removed properly, it sits around the teeth, and the bacteria in it irritate the gums so that they become inflamed
- Therefore, the major symptom of gingivitis is inflamed (red) gums that bleed, especially when brushing, the gums may also be sore
- Continued presence of plaque and inflammation may result in destruction of the gum and bone that supports the teeth
- Often gums shrink back, and teeth may move or become mobile
- Usually not painful and often goes unnoticed
The phrase “Getting a bit long in the Tooth”- was often used to describe the effects of aging on the teeth, when in fact it is the result of periodontal disease