03 Feb The Importance of Dental Hygiene
Besides smiling, laughing, and communicating, the mouth and teeth serve important functions in the body. Teeth and saliva break down food, making it easier for the stomach to process it further for absorption by the intestines. The teeth provide structural support for the face. The mouth and throat contain immune cells that help protect the body against pathogens. Taking good care of the mouth and teeth is an essential part of maintaining good health. Here is a guide to some common oral health problems and procedures.
An abscessed tooth occurs when an infection moves up tooth pulp and settles into the root near the jaw bone and forms a swollen, pus-filled area.
Abscessed Tooth Symptoms
- Bad breath
- Gum redness
An untreated tooth abscess may lead to a dangerous infection of the jaw bone and other tissues.
Abscessed Tooth Treatment
Treatment of a tooth abscess depends on the extent of the infection. Some abscesses may be treated with antibiotics or drainage. In cases in which a cavity or a cracked tooth has exposed the pulp, a root canal may be necessary to treat the abscessed tooth.
Cavities (Tooth Decay)
Cavities are areas of damaged tooth enamel that form when acid erodes away at a tooth.
What Causes Cavities?
Bacteria are normally present on teeth as plaque. Bacteria produce acid as a byproduct from feeding on sugar in the diet. The acid produced then erodes the enamel and exposes dentin that, in turn, can become pitted and result in a cavity.
How to Prevent and How to Get Rid of Cavities
Good dental hygiene that includes brushing, flossing, and regular teeth cleanings, can help prevent cavities. Treatment of a cavity depends on the extent of the tooth decay. A small or superficial cavity may be treated with a filling. Larger cavities may require more extensive drilling to remove decay and then placement of a crown over the remaining portion of the tooth. Decay that extends to the tooth pulp may require root canal treatment.
- (A) A small spot of decay visible on the surface of a tooth.
- (B) The radiograph reveals an extensive region of demineralization within the dentin (arrows).
- (C) A hole is discovered on the side of the tooth at the beginning of decay removal.
- (D) All decay removed.
What Is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a cap that is placed over a damaged tooth to make it stronger or to improve its appearance. Crowns may be placed over a tooth that has a very large filling or one that is cracked. A crown may also be placed in order to serve as support for a dental bridge. Sometimes a crown is used to disguise an ill-shaped or stained tooth. Dental crowns are available in a variety of materials including porcelain (ceramic), porcelain and metal, metal alloy, and more.
What Is a Dry Socket?
A dry socket is a condition that may result after a tooth extraction if the blood clot that normally fills the socket is lost. The dry socket leaves underlying nerves exposed, which is very painful.
Dry Socket Symptoms
- Whitish bone rather than a blood clot where a tooth was pulled
- Pain beginning about two days after tooth was pulled
- Severe pain that radiates to the ear
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste
Dry Socket Treatment
The condition is treated by a dentist who cleans the wound and places a special dressing into the socket. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen may be used to treat pain and decrease swelling.
What Is Gum Disease (Gingivitis)?
Gum disease (gingivitis) is inflammation of the gums. It is caused by plaque-producing bacteria that build up on the teeth.
- Bad breath
- Gum recession
- Painful, red, swollen, bleeding gums
Severe gum inflammation that spreads to the bones and ligaments that support teeth is called periodontitis and can lead to tooth loss. Lack of good oral hygiene increases the risk of gingivitis. Smoking, diabetes, pregnancy, genetic factors, and certain medications also increase the risk of gum disease.
Gum disease is reversible when it is treated in the earlier stages. Regular brushing, flossing, and special dental cleanings and treatments can help prevent and treat gum disease.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Saliva lubricates teeth and other tissues in the mouth and helps guard against infection and gum disease. Dry mouth results from a decreased production of saliva.
Dry Mouth Causes
Dry mouth is caused by some medical conditions or the use of certain medications. Diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, and HIV are a few conditions that may be associated with dry mouth.
Dry mouth may make it hard to speak or swallow. It may also cause hoarseness or a sore throat. Dry mouth increases the risk of tooth decay.
Dry Mouth Treatment
Chewing sugar-free gum may help improve saliva flow. A doctor can prescribe special aids, including artificial saliva, to combat dry mouth.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders refer to conditions that affect the jaw joint and the associated muscles. Arthritis or structural problems may cause TMJ problems. TMJ disorders may also be a symptom of another condition like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or stress.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Symptoms
- Changes in the way the teeth fit together
- Jaw locking
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Treatment
Self-care strategies to manage TMJ problems include practicing stress management, applying hot or cold packs, eating soft foods, and avoiding activities that stress the jaw like chewing gum and opening the mouth too wide to yawn. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help decrease pain and swelling. A health care professional may recommend jaw exercises, orthodontic treatment, or a night guard to treat a TMJ disorder. Many TMJ problems follow a cyclical pattern, and symptoms may resolve without treatment.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Bad breath (halitosis) can be uncomfortable and can have many potential causes.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Diet is one potential cause of bad breath. Odiferous garlic and onions can lead to unpleasant breath. Lack of good oral hygiene may allow bacteria to proliferate, contributing to gum disease and bad mouth odor. Sometimes bad breath is the result of another medical condition like dry mouth, diabetes, a lung infection, or others.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Good oral hygiene including brushing, flossing, and regular teeth cleaning, can help keep gum disease and bad breath at bay. Using a tongue scraper can help as well. In addition, treating an underlying condition such as dry mouth or diabetes, for example, may also help get rid of bad breath.
Tooth sensitivity occurs when hot, cold, sweet, or acidic substances irritate tooth nerves.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Teeth are covered by a protective substance called enamel. Under the gum line, the protective substance is called cementum. The layer under the enamel and cementum is the dentin. Dentin supports the enamel and protects the tooth pulp and nerve root in the middle of the tooth. A series of small tubes (tubules) runs through the dentin. Erosions in enamel and cementum allow substances to come into contact with tubules, which irritates the tooth nerve and results in pain. Cavities, gum disease, cracks in teeth, and enamel erosion may all contribute to tooth sensitivity.
How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
Treatments may include the use of toothpaste or fluoride gel that blocks pain sensation. A dentist may apply a crown or bonding material over the sensitive area. A gum graft may be necessary to cover a sensitive area in which gums have receded.
courtesy : www.medicinenet.com