Is Brushing Enough The Case for Complete Dental Hygiene12 Nov, 2015
Is Brushing Enough The Case for Complete Dental Hygiene
Regular, careful dental care is the key to a strong, healthy mouth. Dentists (which should be visited twice a year) can provide a thorough, deep cleaning, but this biannual checkup is no substitute for daily maintenance. The reason is because of how and why dental problems occur and what must be done to prevent and reverse them.
There are several stages of dental problems, and two main areas that are effected. Different hygienic procedures address different areas. The two main areas are the teeth and the gums. Without regular maintenance, these areas will soon become a haven for disease and decay, resulting in eventual loss of the teeth. Other areas of the mouth such as the tongue, cheeks, throat, and tonsils do not require regular maintenance, to maintain health, although cleaning these areas can result in reduced bad breath.
Teeth brushing is probably the most commonly practiced dental hygiene habit, due to parents encouraging their kids to do this. Brushing teeth is a great practice, and prevents the buildup of bacterial film on the teeth. This film, fed by sugar, produces acid and calcifies into calculus. The acid eventually erodes pits into the tooth, which becomes a further stronghold for bacteria. The cycle then accelerates into a downward spiral, which if left unchecked will result in decay of the dentin, the soft inner part of the tooth. When the decay reaches the dentin, often severe pain is the result, and a root canal is often necessary. This decay and bacteria growth can be slowed, prevented and reversed by brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste.
But, tooth decay is not the only way that teeth can be lost. Gum health is just as important, and brushing teeth does not keep gums healthy. Regular flossing removes matter from between the teeth, and from the space between teeth and gums. When food is allowed to remain in these spaces (such as when a person brushes regularly, but does not floss), the gums become red and inflamed. After becoming inflamed, they begin to recede, and the space between the gums and teeth gets deeper. A normal maximum depth for this space is three millimeters, and one millimeter is ideal. If the space reaches nine or ten millimeters, tooth integrity can begin to be compromised. Even if the tooth remains healthy on the surface, the root can rot from below. This is often known as periodontal disease. Like with a cavity that extends to the dentin, decay that originates in the root due to periodontal disease can necessitate a root canal.
Other things that can help to maintain dental health include water floss irrigation tools and mouthwash. Dentists often recommend water floss tools because these reach deep within pockets that even floss cannot clean. Useful for reversing and preventing deep spaces, they are especially appropriate for people with very close teeth. Mouthwash is good for killing bacteria on the tongue and other areas, as well as providing a hostile environment for bacteria on and around the teeth and gums. There is some risk that regular use of mouthwash containing alcohol may increase oral cancer risk in people who do not otherwise consume alcohol regularly.
A dentist can perform initial cleanings, provide dental advice and conduct operations to correct problems after they have reached unmanageable levels, but without daily dental maintenance, tooth loss is probably inevitable.
For more information about dental hygiene or to see a quality dentist in Chandler, AZ, contact Valley Dental Care. This Chandler family dentistry serves clients in the greater Phoenix area.