We only realize the importance of something when it’s gone. A good case in point is our teeth – we take it for granted and don’t realize its importance until we experience teeth problems. Our two rows of teeth are responsible for the general shape of the face. It also helps in speaking and clear pronunciation. Finally, we need teeth to chew and break down food for easy digestion. Our teeth and gums are too important to ignore. We need to take good care of our pearly whites.
Understanding the various teeth problems and seeking help from a dental hygienist is a good way to maintain good breath, healthy gums, and strong teeth.
Bad Breath Causes
One of the signs of poor oral health is Halitosis – commonly known as bad breath. Unhealthy lifestyle and our food habits can make the problem worse. The most commonly known bad breath causes are as follows.
Poor dental hygiene: Our mouth hosts around 30 to 70 different types of bacteria. Most bacteria are harmless, some help in digestion and protect the gums and teeth, and a small number of bacteria cause bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. People with poor dental hygiene often don’t care to floss, brush teeth properly, and rinse their mouth after every meal. The bad bacteria feed on the food that gets stuck between the teeth and releases gases that cause bad breath.
Food and Drink: Strong smelling drinks and strongly flavored food are equally guilty of causing bad breath. The effect of food and drink is only temporary. By choosing to skip certain food and drinks and maintaining good oral hygiene can solve the problem.
Some of the other bad breath causes include certain medical conditions, medication, crash dieting, and smoking.
Teeth – they are the hardest substance in the body, yet they aren’t immune to problems. Day in and day out, our teeth are constantly exposed to various elements like heat, cold, strong drinks, strongly flavored food, bacterial, etc. The most common teeth problems that you might face are:
Tooth decay and cavities are the terms we associate with teeth problems. The reason is obvious; both children and adults are susceptible to this condition. The bacteria convert the bits and pieces of food left in our mouths, after meals, into acids. The acids that come in contact with the teeth dissolves the enamel and creates holes called cavities.
Here too, bacteria are the cause of the problem. The harmful bacteria in our mouth break down the uncleared food that is stuck in the gums, hiding between the teeth, and taking refuge under the tongue, to form acids. The acids later become plaques. People having gingivitis see swelling and bleeding (during brushing) in their gums due to the accumulation of the plaque. If left untreated, gingivitis might lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis or periodontal disease is a common gum problem that most people above 30 years of age suffer. Infections in the mouth caused by bacteria affect the gums and cause inflammation. The infection and swelling of the gums slowly progress to the bone, and other areas, that support the teeth. The main support structures that get infected by bacteria are the alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, cementum, and the gums. If the support structure is damaged and the tooth becomes loose, you’ll have no other choice but to remove the tooth. Gingivitis, the first stage of Periodontal disease, damages only the gums, but the later stages – periodontitis and advanced periodontitis – affect all the supporting structures.
Plaque and Tartar
Bacteria that live in our mouth love sugary food. They react with sugar and become sticky layers of plaque. You can easily prevent or clean plaque layers by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
Plaque that is not cleared combines with other substances in the mouth to form Tartar. Unlike plaque, tartar is much harder to clean. If you can’t remove the hard material by yourself, seek professional help before tartar leads to tooth decay.
Do your teeth hurt every time you consume food or drink that’s hot or cold? If this is something you’ve experienced then it means you have sensitive teeth or dentin hypersensitivity. The thick enamel coating that forms the topmost layer in our teeth protects the sensitive parts from the food and drinks we take. When the protective enamel gets worn out, dentin and nerve ends, which are more sensitive to temperature, get exposed.
Dentin hypersensitivity can be temporary or it may lead to other serious problems. To solve the sensitive teeth problem do one of the following:
- Skip hot, cold, or acidic items
- Do not brush too hard
- Find a solution to bruxism or teeth grinding
- Do not bleach the teeth too often
- Treat gum disease, if that’s causing teeth sensitivity
- Fix cracked tooth
- Seek help from a dental hygienist
Quality Dental Care
In the above-given paragraphs, we have seen what can happen to our mouth, teeth, and gums if they are not cared for. If thorough cleaning and regular maintenance is something you’re not good at or if you’re suffering from any of the above-given problems – bad breath, periodontal disease, and teeth problems – then you need quality dental care, pronto.
There is no set standard on how often one should visit a dental hygienist. But, most dental professionals and organizations agree that to prevent common dental problems and to maintain good oral health one needs to visit a dental hygienist twice a year for teeth cleaning and regular check up.
The dental hygienist, after assessing your oral health, might advise you on future visits and course of action. Keep in mind, even if you have healthy teeth and good oral habits you need to visit a dental hygienist.
It’s only natural for a person to wonder the need for a visit if the teeth are healthy and he/she is maintaining good oral hygiene. Even the most common dental problems don’t manifest themselves in the form of pain, swelling, or bleeding until they are in the advanced stages. If you make regular visits to the dental hygienist for deep teeth cleaning you can totally prevent plaque and tartar formation and reduce the risks of cavities, sensitive teeth, periodontitis, and other dental problems.