December 21st, 2010
Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or a cavity, is a disease where a bacterial process damages the tooth, producing cavities (holes in the teeth). Two groups of bacteria are responsible for starting tooth decay: Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus. If left untreated, the decay can lead to pain, tooth loss, infection, and in severe cases, death.
The way dental decay appears is highly varied; however, the risk factors and stages of development are similar. In the early stages, it may appear as a small chalky area that may eventually develop into a large cavity. This is usually due to the enamel layer collapsing as the softer decayed dentine layer is unable to support it. Sometimes caries may be directly visible, however other methods of detection such as radiographs are used to assess in between teeth and the extent of tooth destruction.
Tooth decay is caused by specific types of acid-producing bacteria that cause damage in the presence of carbohydrates such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose. The mineral content of teeth is sensitive to increases in acidity. A tooth (which is primarily mineral in content) is in a continuous state of movement of demineralization and remineralization between the tooth and surrounding saliva. When the pH at the surface of the tooth drops below 5.5, demineralization proceeds faster than remineralization (meaning that there is a net loss of mineral structure on the tooth’s surface). This results in the start of decay. Very early stages of demineralization can be arrested by the use of topical fluoride varnishes. “The best form of defense is prevention, which involves a good dental hygiene regime at home and a balanced healthy diet; also seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly to help prevent decay and to get the best advice,” says Dr Rashid of Time Dental, Farnham.
December 20th, 2010
A common question asked by parents is when their child should start brushing their teeth, and the answer is simple – as soon as they get any! This is because as soon as teeth are present, there is a chance of tooth decay. In fact, before teeth are even present in the mouth, it’s a good idea to wipe your child’s gums with a damp cloth on a daily basis. When teeth do appear, use a small headed soft-bristled toothbrush (baby toothbrushes are available from most pharmacies nowadays) and a smear of toothpaste (again children’s toothpaste is widely available), and gently brush the teeth twice a day.
“It can sometimes be a struggle to brush children’s teeth. I know because I have a toddler and it’s a constant battle at the moment. However keep persevering as the long term benefit to your child’s dental health is huge,” says Dr Rashid of Time Dental in Surrey, “make sure that they don’t go to sleep with a bottle of milk at night time as this can cause what’s called “bottle caries” which is rapid tooth decay. It’s best to give them their milk and then brush their teeth afterwards.”
Baby teeth play an important role in the development of the mouth and adult teeth underneath, and should be treated with a lot of care. Bringing your child to your regular dental exams is also a good idea. This gives them a chance to become familiar with the dentist and the dental environment.
“The best thing to tell a child when they are seeing the dentist for the first time is to tell them that they are going to have their teeth counted. Never use the phrase “it’s not going to hurt” or “you have to be brave” as this is negative reinforcement. We want them to enjoy coming to se us. At Time Dental we often encourage children to take a ride in the chair and show us how many teeth they have,” advises Dr Rashid.
If you have any queries about your child’s dental health, please give us a call at Time Dental on 01252 723008 and we would be happy to help.
December 14th, 2010
Are you brushing too hard?
Using a hard bristled toothbrush or using a scrubbing motion with a manual or electric toothbrush could be damaging your teeth. So how do you get the right balance of brushing firmly enough but not too aggressively? “The best thing you can do for your dental health is to use an electric toothbrush,” says Dr Rashid of Time Dental in Surrey, “the electric toothbrush has a small head which helps to get around all your teeth. If you’re using a toothbrush the size of a yard broom the best thing for that is in the bin. Many people still use a scrubbing motion even with their electric toothbrush and if you do that you can cause what’s called abrasion cavities. These are cavities that form on the tooth just where it comes up from the gum line. The hard brushing motion actually wears away the protective enamel layer exposing the softer dentine layer. This can result in sensitivity and tooth decay. In the early stages of abrasion a fluoride varnish can be applied by your dentist, however in some cases you will need composite bonding to help protect the tooth. Composite bonding is an easy way of sealing the exposed area to prevent sensitivity and reduce the risk of decay. The composite is tooth coloured which means you will not be able to see it and as it is bonded onto the tooth it helps to protect the vulnerable area. If tooth decay starts in these areas it can spread very quickly towards the middle of the tooth where your nerve is, and that can make things more complicated to treat. I would advise that you see your dentist and hygienist to guide you in the best brushing technique to prevent the abrasion cavities from starting.”
Tags: abrasion cavities
, composite bonding
, electric toothbrush
, sensitive teeth
, Time Dental
, tooth coloured fillings
, Tooth Decay
, white fillings
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, Time Dental
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December 7th, 2010
When a tooth has to be taken out don’t worry about having a space where the tooth used to be because you don’t have to be left with a gappy smile. If you have a gap you essentially have three options to fill the space. One is a denture which is removable; another option is a bridge which uses the teeth on either side of the gap to hold a tooth in place, and the final option is an implant. “Dental implants are titanium screws which are gently inserted into the jaw bone,” explains Dr Rashid of Time Dental, “the implant holds a tooth which restores your smile and bite. When you lose a tooth the surrounding bone shrinks back and the teeth on either side and opposite the gap can partly drift into the space. This complicates matters by affecting your bite and gum health. That’s why placing dental implants as soon as the tooth is taken out helps to preserve the surrounding bone and prevents teeth drifting. Implants are now placed on a routine basis and they are a fantastic way of ensuring that you function and chew properly as well as look good. With a good dental hygiene regime the implant can last many years.”