dental check ups

Oral hygiene is important- and not just for your smile!!

Dental cavities and tooth decay is one of the most common medical conditions experienced by Americans and the single most common disease of childhood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 19 percent of children have untreated cavities and approximately 41 percent of children have decay in their “baby teeth.”

Cavities are the result of gradual tooth decay caused by the build-up of plaque and breakdown of protective enamel. Initially cavities are painless, but they open the tooth up to infections, eventually exposure the nerve resulting in pain. The internal structures of the tooth can also be destroyed, ultimately causing the loss of the tooth. While this might not seem important in “baby teeth” as they are going to be lost anyway, infection can cause damage to the growing teeth and subsequent treatments can be painful and expensive.

Overall, oral hygiene is an essential component of one’s health. Researchers from the American Heart Association recently shared findings that professional dental care can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Experts tracked 100,000 people for an average of 7 years in Taiwan. They found that those who had their teeth professionally cleaned at least once every two years were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 13 percent less likely to have a stroke.

Regular dentist visits and oral hygiene reduces the growth of inflammation-causing bacteria that causes periodontal disease. However, these bacteria can also cause inflammation of the vessels, with studies showing that these bacteria are associated with elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for blood vessel inflammation.

Dental health should begin in childhood as even babies are susceptible to cavities. Most children get their first tooth around 6 or 7 months of age and dental care should begin promptly thereafter with a visit to the dentist, as well as, regular tooth brushing. One major risk for early childhood cavities is consumption of sugary liquids, particularly allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle of juice or milk.

The extended contact with sugar increases the rate of tooth decay. Avoiding sticky foods and frequent snacks are other strategies to ward off cavities. Instilling these routines in childhood promotes their continuation into adult life and with more studies showing broad health benefits from dental hygiene it is essential.

So don’t forget to schedule your six month check up and cleaning!
Call our office today for an appointment.

How do tooth cavities develop?

Many people are prone to cavities due to improper maintenance of the teeth,  so it is very important to take good care of  them from early stages to prevent any tooth decay or disease.

Cavities will form due to a buildup of bacteria and plaque on the teeth’s surface. The tartar and plaque will build up on your after a period of time, create a very acidic environment in the area and eat away at the enamel forming tiny holes in the hard surface of the tooth, otherwise known as tooth decay.

With time, this acidic environment keeps getting stronger on the surface area of your tooth and  these tiny holes will increase in size and become larger cavities. Symptoms of cavities include irritation, sensitivity to foods that are hot, cold or sweet,  and may cause toothaches. Treatment of the cavity includes tooth remineralization and restorations such as composite fillings, ceramic inlays, onlays or after extensive decay endodontic treatment,  the dreaded root canal.

Tooth remineralization includes reversing very shallow cavities by treating them with a substance that contains fluoride or calcium that re-hardens and remineralizes the tooth structure.

Restoration  such as composite fillings or inlays are the most basic types and are placed when a there is small or average sized cavity. However, when the cavity increases in  size, an onlay may be needed to restore the tooth.

In more serious cases, if the cavity extends to the center nerve of the tooth and becomes infected, a root canal will need to be performed.

These  could easily be prevented if you make sure to drink a lot of water, brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly and visit the dentist at least twice a year.

 

 

 

 

By: Lillian B.