- »

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fleetwood Dental’s Guide to Common Dental Problems: Part I

Dental health isn’t just important for your pearly whites—it can affect your overall health, which is why is it imperative to know how to treat common dental problems. Read the first part of our guide to solving common issues plaguing your mouth.

Tooth Decay: Otherwise known as dental cavities or caries, this occurs when plaque—a film of bacteria that forms after eating starches or sugars—remains on teeth for too long. Although anyone can get a cavity, children and older people are most cavity-prone.

So how do you prevent tooth decay? Stop plaque in its tracks by brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. For children, plastic coatings called sealants can be applied to the chewing surfaces on their back teeth as soon as their molars come in. As for older people, using a mouth rinse containing fluoride and receiving regular fluoride treatments should help.

Gum Disease: Also known as gingivitis (the early stage) and periodontitis (the advanced stage), gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by plaque attacking the gums, bone and ligaments that keep your teeth where they are. According to estimations by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), half of all adults show some signs of gingivitis. Stress, poor oral hygiene, pregnancy and systemic diseases like diabetes can contribute.

Make sure to see a dentist regularly and notify your dentist if your gums bleed or feel tender. Regular brushing and flossing can reverse gingivitis and a dentist can perform a deep cleaning around the teeth and below the gum lines to combat periodontitis.