Prevention of caries: a myth or an easy way to save teeth?
This time we want to talk about the most common problem that our teeth face – carious lesions. A practicing dentist helped us to understand the topic.
What is “caries,” and how to recognize it?
Caries are a disease of the teeth themselves. And our teeth are surrounded by soft tissues – the gums and oral mucosa. And, unfortunately, they can get sick too. Bleeding gums, swelling, and redness are the main signs of soft tissue damage.
The cause of the development of caries is mainly bacteria that live in the oral cavity. We can observe their accumulations (colonies) in white plaque on tooth enamel. Like all living things, their goal is simple – to feed and reproduce by excreting waste. In this case, the waste products are acids that act as a solvent on the tooth tissue and injure the gums.
I’m sorry if I scared you by now. The good news is that tooth decay and its complications can be avoided. To prevent the reproduction of bacterial colonies in your mouth with all the consequences, it is enough to remove them daily from the surface of the teeth and wash the gums and mucous membranes.
I suggest doing a simple test for the cleanliness of the teeth:
Run your tongue over the surface of your teeth. If somewhere you feel that the surface is not smooth, these are the very colonies of bacteria.
Prevention of caries – what does it mean?
Everything is simple. It is important to pay special attention to disease prevention. This method also works with one of the worst dental enemies – caries. As a practitioner with ten years of experience, I can assure you: the prevention of this disease is our everything 🙂
Just think, almost the entire adult population of the planet is subject to caries. This is a scientific fact. You may not know, but tooth decay is a behavioral disease. This means that dental health depends on our actions and not our predisposition. Our attitude to oral hygiene determines whether we develop caries and how much.
There is a simple rule: control cavities = control oral health. This control is possible only with competent and regular dental care. It includes:
▪️ proper self-hygiene at home using the necessary gadgets and care products;
▪️ visiting the dentist every 3-4 months for professional oral hygiene and, of course, monitoring the health of the teeth.
Caries are one of the main causes of tooth extraction. This happens in cases where the process has become irreversible and has already covered the entire tooth. Sometimes you even have to risk your health, getting rid of the complications of a familiar and seemingly not terrible little caries.
How to brush your teeth properly?
For complete oral hygiene, we need different tools and tools. I’m telling you.
Most often, plaque forms where the gum surrounds the tooth – in the so-called cervical area. Therefore, bacterial plaque on the teeth provokes inflammation of the gums and, at the same time, the neck of the tooth. By the way, the neck is the most vulnerable part since it does not know how to self-clean, unlike, for example, tubercles and cutting edges of the teeth (when chewing food, they touch. Therefore, less plaque accumulates there).
Every day, we need to clean the surface of the teeth and their necks at least (!) twice with soft-bristled toothbrushes so as not to injure the gums.
My colleagues and I recommend using two brushes – regular, manual, with many bristles and monotuft, for hard-to-reach areas, such as the lingual surfaces of the lower teeth and the buccal surfaces of the upper molars.
The choice of paste is very important for proper oral hygiene. It should be soft and pleasant to the taste, not burn the mucous membrane – otherwise, you will not be able to brush your teeth well and for a long time.
It is good when the paste contains strengthening components, such as calcium, phosphorus, and fluorine. This is always a plus in case you need to nourish the areas of the teeth on which there was a plaque.
In addition to surfaces, it is very important to clean the gaps between the teeth with dental floss. The ideal option is a thread that expands and increases in volume when it comes into contact with moisture. It fills the interdental spaces better, cleans them more effectively, and removes plaque and bacteria.
An alternative to flossing. It is important to select brushes with the doctor and adjust their size for different interdental spaces.
This is the cherry on the cake for cleansing the interdental space. This device gives a pulsating water jet that washes the teeth, performs a massage function for the gums, and, most importantly, perfectly cleans the teeth and the space between them from plaque.
Another important advantage of the irrigator is that it can clean crowns, implants, and braces.
Not the most popular accessory, but very important.
The smell from the mouth is directly related to a plaque on the tongue, which can be removed in half a minute with a special scraper. It is easy and comfortable to use, and the effect is excellent – the tongue is free of plaque, dead cells, and bacteria.
All oral hygiene products should be disinfected regularly. I recommend doing this once a week. Dip the irrigator tips, brushes, and scraper into a container filled with chlorhexidine or hydrogen peroxide. After 30 minutes, rinse everything thoroughly with water and dry.
Is home care enough?
Even if you strictly follow all the recommendations above, visit a hygienist at least once every six months.
The fact is that an ordinary brush is not enough to remove tartar, which provokes inflammation of the gums and under which bacteria are very fond of settling. In addition, during cleaning, pigmented plaque is removed from coffee or tea, for example.
And if the situation requires it, the doctor will refer you to an x-ray or transillumination to reveal hidden caries and draw up a further treatment map.
In any case, treating caries is not the most dangerous thing that can happen to a tooth. The main thing is to do it on time.