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Frequently asked questions on Dental Health :

Dental health is a matter of life-long concern. Whatever your age, you can and should have a healthy mouth and a pleasant smile. Your dental health is an important part of your general health.

Correct dental care can help you keep your teeth for a lifetime. Some commonly asked questions on dental health are answered below.

How does tooth decay start?

When food particles are left on the teeth, especially sugary food, bacteria turn them into acid which eats its way into Enamel, then into Dentine and finally into the pulp. This can be very painful. When the decay reaches the roots, the teeth may have to be pulled out.

What is gum disease?

Bacteria in plaque can release substances that irritate and inflame gum tissues. This condition is called Gingivitis. When plaque is not removed, it hardens around the gum line and forms Tartar. The infection then spreads to the bone supporting the tooth and eventually, the tooth may fall out. This is called periodontal disease or Pyorrhea. Gum diseases may also take the form of a gum diseases may also take the form of a gum boil which results from infected pulp.

How can tooth decay and gum disease be prevented?

a) Eat foods that have vitamin and minerals .Take milk, fruits, vegetable, eggs, fish and meat Crunchy fruits like apples and carrots also help to clean the teeth.

b) Don’t eat sweet or sticky foods between meals.

Bacteria love sugar .Don’t give them a change to bore holes in your teeth. Eat sweets only at the end of a meal so that your teeth get properly cleaned when you brush them after the meal.

c) After every meal brush your teeth to remove plaque and food particles which get lodged in the crevices of the teeth.

d) Visit the dentist at least twice a year.

The dentist can detect cavities, fill them and remove tartar from places you cannot reach. The Dentist will also advise you on correct dental care.

When should you consult your dentist?

At the appearance of any of the following symptoms, consult your dentist immediately: toothache, bleeding gums during brushing, persistent unpleasant breath, cavities, painful sensations, teeth growing out of order, swollen, loose or flabby gums and loose teeth.

Is professional cleaning of the teeth necessary?

Yes because even the most careful and conscientious cleaning can leave some plaque and Tartar deposits. Therefore it is usually necessary to have your dentist give your teeth a Professional cleaning every 6 month. Professional cleaning or scaling improves periodontal health.

What can happen if missing teeth are not replaced by artificial teeth?

If missing teeth are not replaced by artificial teeth the adjacent teeth will over a period of time lean into the empty spaces. Food is likely to accumulate between teeth and create ground for decay causing bacteria .Irregular spacing also makes cleaning of teeth difficult and leads to formation of Tarter. This may contribute to the destruction of gums.

Should you use a mouthwash?

You may use a mouthwash if you want to freshen your breath or sweeten your mouth temporarily. But do not expect it to remove plaque and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Bad breath may indicate some other bodily disorders. Do not mask these signs of trouble by using a mouthwash.

Dental Health For Children

What are the types of teeth in children?

There are two types of teeth the primary often called baby or milk teeth and the permanent teeth. There are 20 primary and 32 permanent teeth.

Are children always ill when they are teething?

Not necessarily. But sometimes teething may be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea. Fever and pain in case of an illness associated with teething consult your doctor.

Why is it important to keep the primary teeth and to have them filled if cavities develop?

The primary teeth should be given the best of care because they were designed by nature to assist in chewing food, contribute to facial development and expression, preserve the space for incoming permanent teeth and help in better speech habits.

However if the defective tooth cannot be treated and filled properly it should be extracted.

Should a primary tooth that is lost too soon be replaced with a’ space maintainer ?

Yes otherwise the vacant space tends to close up. If a space maintainer is inserted it will preserve the space for the permanent tooth.

If a child’s primary teeth are decayed, irregular or poorly formed will his permanent teeth also be faulty?

Not necessarily but an infected primary tooth may affect the developing permanent tooth. Also premature loss or primary teeth may cause the permanent teeth to erupt out of position or become so affected that they fail to erupt at all.

What should you do if your child accidentally breaks or cracks a tooth?

Take the child to the dentist immediately The dentist will probably make an x-ray examination and then place medicated cement over the sensitive part of the fractured tooth. Or, he may smoothen the rough edges of the break of it is a serious fracture he may place a band or crown over the tooth to protect it. If the tooth is knocked out, do not clean it but wrap it in a wet cloth or place it in water. Then take the child and the tooth to the dentist as quickly as possible. In many cases it is possible to re attach the tooth to the jaw so that it functions normally.

What harm can irregular or malformed permanent teeth do to a child and what should be done about it?

Irregular or malformed permanent teeth can be a hindrance to brushing which may lead to tooth decay and gum disease. They also interfere with chewing .Consult your dentist; they will recommend the necessary orthodontic treatment or a minor surgical operation.

What is the proper age at which to begin correcting irregular tooth position?

Some irregularities need treatment when the child is very young. Others are best treated at a later age.  Regular check-up by a dentist is advisable. He will decide when the treatment is necessary.

Should something be done about the jagged edges of newly erupted teeth?

No. As a rule when these teeth are in proper position the jagged edges gradually wear down leaving behind a smooth edge.

Is thumb sucking harmful to a child’s dental health?

Thumb sucking during the first year or two of a child life need not cause any concern. Any irregularity in the position of teeth that is directly due to sucking habits will probably correct itself if it occurs before the age of 5. After that however, thumb or finger sucking may affect the position of the incoming teeth and shape of the jaws. So, the child should be discouraged from sucking his thumb or fingers.

At what age should a child start using a tooth brush?

He should start using a tooth brush soon after the first incisors have appeared. Initially you will have to brush his teeth for him. By the time the child has cut all of his teeth he will be used to the idea of brushing and will be able to brush his teeth himself.

What is the relationship between nutrition and dental health?

Calcium and phosphorus are necessary for hardening of the tooth structures during the years the teeth are being formed After the teeth are being formed they do not need any more calcium nor can they absorb any. A balanced diet through life is adequate for dental health.

Should you give your child calcium tablets while his teeth are forming?

According to most authorities the best source of calcium is the daily diet. If a child eats a balanced diet and drinks an adequate amount of milk, he will obtain all the calcium and phosphorus he needs. Ask your dentist or doctor for any dietary supplement if necessary.

What is the place of sweets in the child’s diet?

Tooth decay can to a large extent be controlled by a diet in which sugar (natural or refined both) is restricted, particularly between meals Fruits, vegetables, nuts and such other foods could be substituted for sweets.

At what age should you take your child to the dentist for the first time?

Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be when he is between 2 and 3 years of age However if a child younger than 2 has a cavity, or his teeth are injured in an accident he should of course be taken to a dentist for examination and the necessary treatment

How should you prepare your child for his visit to the dentist?

The most important thing is to prevent fear. You may remark casually about the benefits of dental care, such as attractive teeth, without cavities. Do not over prepare him. Avoid saying it won’t hurt rather your attitude should be that the dentist is like a friend who helps you keep your teeth healthy, strong and shining white.

Should X-ray pictures be taken of children’s teeth?

Yes, If the dentist considers it necessary for a detailed examination.

How can you encourage your child to have regular dental examinations?

Your child is old enough to understand the importance of good living explain to him the part the teeth play in maintaining  good  health and a pleasing appearance.

What is a dental sealant?

A dental sealant is a plastic material that is applied to chewing surface of a back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier by sealing out plaque and food. Sealants are easy to apply it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth & it is a painless procedure. Dental sealants can help prevent decay. They can also help you save time and money that would have been spent on restorative dental procedures

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

In order to keep you smile healthy, brush twice a day with toothpaste prescribed by your dentist. You should clean between your teeth with floss or another interdentally cleaner once a day, visit your dentist regularly and avoid frequent snacks between meals.

Our teeth are constantly being covered with a sticky film of bacteria, called plaque. When we eat or drink anything that contains sugar or starch- such as milk bread, biscuits, toffee, aerated drinks, juice fruit and many other foods and beverages bacteria turn the sugar and starch into acids that can attack tooth enamel. The good news is that you can protect your teeth and prevent decay.

General Dental care should be considered a routine part of normal living.