Prevention is better than cure. Visit our hygiene team to keep your smile looking and feeling healthy.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Periodontal disease is commonly caused by poor oral hygiene. There are also other contributing factors which can be discussed with your dental operator as it is a complex process.
To give a brief explanation of the process:
- Approximately 20 minutes after you eat plaque start to form on your teeth which is that sticky furry feeling on your teeth when you have not cleaned them yet.
- Saliva washes over any remaining food and plaque in your mouth and the natural calcium ions in your saliva turn it hard into calculus.
- Calculus is like a rock cemented onto your tooth so you can no longer brush or floss it off your tooth. You could say it is like coral because it is hard but also porous, so it creates the perfect living environment for bacteria to live and thrive.
- Bacteria cause a constant infection in the mouth.
- Your immune system responds to the bacteria like any other infection by sending all the white blood cells to the area.
- White blood cells cannot destroy the bacteria or break down your food, plaque, or calculus so a constant cycle of inflammation occurs.
- Gum inflammation is known as gingivitis.
- If this process continues for too long eventually your body decides to move away from the infected site(s) by destroying your own tissues.
- This is known as periodontitis (gum disease).
- Like cancer neither process may show any symptoms until it becomes quite bad.
- Although we emphasis on maintain a high standard of home hygiene for your teeth, we cannot always remove everything for many different reasons.
- Medical conditions
- Memory issues
- Tooth morphology
- Tooth position and orientation
- Restorative work creating ledges or margins that catch more food, plaque, and bacteria
- It is important to see your dental hygiene team regularly so we can remove what you cannot.
Dental Caries (Tooth Decay)
Dental caries (tooth decay) is caused by firstly and foremost by sugar in the diet and secondly by poor oral hygiene. There are other contributing factors that can be discussed with your dental operator. Sugar can be natural like fruit and milk or refined like chocolates, cakes, biscuits, lollies, sweets, and candies. There are also “hidden” sugars in pre-made goods like bars, slices, sauces, and dressings. Bacteria in the mouth use sugar as energy to create an acid that breaks down the outside layer of the tooth. Once the tooth is weaker on the outside the process continues deeper within the tooth until it is too weak to support the outer layer and a cavity (hole) forms. Sometimes you will have symptoms like sensitivity to hot, cold of sweet things or a toothache and other times you may not feel anything. So, it is important to have regular visits to your dental team.
How can we help?
Mia, our Oral Health Therapist, works alongside our dentist’s Dr Michael Le and Dr Welyn Gordo to prevent, treat and control dental diseases, and maintain good oral health. Mia particularly focuses this through preventive, educational and therapeutic approaches, which include:
- Demonstrating oral care techniques for plaque control
- Doing periodontal examinations to assess the state of oral health
- Removing calculus deposits
- Using appropriate fluoride treatments
- Providing dietary and nutritional education and advice
Most people brush their teeth at least one a day. We recommend that you brush twice a day once in the morning and once at night to remove the food, plaque and bacteria in your mouth to assist in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.
Most people do not clean in between their teeth. We recommend that you floss or use your interproximal device before your brush for two reasons. Firstly, to help get it into your habit. Secondly, to remove the food, plaque, and bacteria in between your teeth so then you and brush it away and spit it out afterwards.