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Maintaining Healthier Teeth

by Samuel Duru on 10th August, 2012 at 9:30 AM CEST

Prior to the advent of modern dentistry, people commonly suffered toothache and tooth loss from their youth on. Many were disfigured by dark, crooked, or missing teeth. Toothless senior citizens suffered malnutrition and early death because they were unable to chew. Today, most dental patients can be free of toothache, keep their teeth throughout their life, and have a pleasing smile.

Preventive dentistry, emphasizes that education and regular checkups, has been a key factor in avoiding toothache and tooth loss. 

Nevertheless, many people avoid the dentist. Some neglect dental treatment out of nonchalance. Others are deterred by expense. Still others are afraid. Whatever your circumstance, it is worth asking: What can the dentist do for me? To appreciate the importance of preventive dentistry, we need to understand what dentists are trying to prevent.

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Dentists can help you to prevent the torment of toothache and tooth loss. With your co-operation, a dentist can avoid the effects of plaque, a soft film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth. The bacteria thrive on food particles. They convert sugar into acids that attack the tooth enamel, making it porous. Eventually, caries, or tooth decay, results when the porous area collapses to form a cavity. You feel no discomfort at this stage, but when the decay reaches the central pulp of your tooth, you may suffer acute pain.

The bacteria that form plaque have another way of tormenting you. If plaque is not carefully brushed away, it hardens to form a calcified deposit called calculus, or tartar, which may inflame the gums and make them pull away from the tooth. This results in a gap between tooth and gum – where trapped food provides a feast for bacteria that may infect your gums. Your dentist can help control this condition, but if this is not cared for, the tissue surrounding your teeth may become so damaged that your teeth actually fall out. More teeth are lost this way than through tooth decay.

Your saliva provides a measure of protection from this double attack of bacteria. Whether you have eaten a full meal or just a cookie, your saliva needs between 15 and 45 minutes to clear away food particles, and neutralize the acid in the plaque on your teeth.

The time depends on how much sticky sugar or food debris clings to your teeth. Apparently, it is during these minutes that your teeth are damaged. Thus, the amount of damage done to your teeth may depend, not on the quantity of sugar you eat, but on the frequency of your meals and sugary snacks. Since saliva flow is low while you sleep, one of the most destructive things you can do to your teeth is eat or drink sugar and then retire for the night without brushing your teeth. On the other hand, chewing sugar-free gum after meals is said to increase saliva flow and help protect your teeth.

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Dentists recommend having regular checkups once or twice a year, depending on the condition of your teeth. During the checkup your dentist will likely examine your teeth carefully for caries. He can usually fill any cavities he finds without causing you pain. For those who are especially fearful, a few dentists now use lasers or decay-dissolving gels, which can reduce or even eliminate the need to use a drill or a local anesthetic.

How often do you go for a dental checkup?

Samuel Duru

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I must confess I cannot remember the day I went for any dental checkup, thanks for the reminder.

10th August, 2012 @ 9:24 PM CEST

Jatin Kataria

Jatin Kataria | Action team | CF Chapters

Interesting one...

12th August, 2012 @ 12:35 AM CEST

Lucky Sibanda

Lucky Sibanda

Went once, and will visit them soon

16th August, 2012 @ 1:53 AM CEST

Gershon Lumor

Gershon Lumor

i have never thought of this in fact this a fantastic information ,i will make a move to begin to visit a dentist. More Greece to your elbow.

22nd August, 2012 @ 1:54 AM CEST

Joel Mordi

Joel Mordi

Thsnks for the Quick Reminder its been 4 years already since i last visited my dentist....i gotta do some checkup thanks once again

22nd August, 2012 @ 8:36 PM CEST

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