Common dental problems.

Some common dental problems include gum disease, dental caries (cavities in teeth), broken teeth, teeth erosion, and teeth wearing due to bruxism.

All of these issues can be simple or big problems. Small dental problems don’t involve significant pain requiring pain medication and an immediate visit to the dentist. The more severe dental conditions we need to avoid at all costs.

How to avoid dental disease?

Dental disease can be minimised by simple steps in daily life routines. These include:

  1. Brush your teeth at lest twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste.
  2. Eating a well balanced diet low in sugar and simple carbohydrates.
  3. Avoid frequent snacking on sticky, sweet or acidic foods and drinks.
  4. Flossing your teeth after brushing at night.
  5. Keep hydrated for healthy saliva.
  6. Regular visits to the dentist.

Why brush twice a day?

The oral cavity is filled with bacteria to keep us healthy. The mouth is the gateway to our digestive system, which need bacteria to maintain a healthy environment.

There are many types of bacteria in our digestive system, including the mouth. Bacteria left to accumulate on the tooth surface at the gum line will lead to more of the bad types of bacteria to flourish. Consequently, the bad types of bacteria release more acid onto the tooth surface and other types of toxins which can cause gum disease.

Brushing the teeth regularly keeps the bacteria mass from becoming too thick and allowing for the bad types of bacteria to grow in large volumes. And using fluoridated toothpaste assists in achieving this as well. In addition, the fluoride in the toothpaste creates a protective outer layer in the tooth to withstand acid attack.

It is a known fact that individuals who brush regularly and properly, build up less plaque over a given time. This keeps your teeth and gums smiling!

Dietary patterns and type of foods to avoid for prevention of dental disease.

There is a saying, ‘you are what you eat’. And the condition of your teeth is a reflection of what you put in your mouth. Acid produced by bacteria, whenever we eat, on the tooth surfaces often leads to break down of tooth structure . Should this process be left for too long to persists on the tooth surface, tooth structure will breakdown and eventually a cavity develops.

Avoiding sugar hits throughout the day is just as important as reducing the amount of sugar consumption. Soft drinks and energy drinks are the biggest culprits in causing tooth erosion and dental caries.

The balance to achieve to avoid dental problems

Reducing the frequency in a day bacteria has access to sugar will lead to less dental decay over your lifetime. Substituting high sugar drinks with tap water will reduce the risks of dental decay. We are very fortunate to be living in a city with the best water supply in the world. So take advantage of this!

Snacking for energy throughout the day is common, but the types of foods one snacks on should be chosen wisely. Avoid sticky, high sugar foods and instead, try for low GI foods like, nuts or vegetable and fruit based meals. But avoid dried fruits with added sugar.

Why floss?

Flossing your teeth allows for plaque removal from the areas in between the teeth. The toothbrush cannot access these areas but the floss can.

Food can sometimes trap between the teeth as well. Removal of the trapped food is essential to avoid dental decay.

Cleaning the areas between the teeth will reduce the likelihood of gum disease in these areas

Drinking enough fluids and dental decay.

Saliva is the most important defense against dental disease. It contains a lot of products which keep the growth of bacteria in check. Saliva also holds the building blocks necessary for teeth to repair after an acid attack.

There are proteins in saliva which help coat the tissues in your mouth to prevent it breaking down. And it also helps lubricate your mouth for speech and clearing food debris after eating.

Without saliva any acid build up in your mouth would not be neutralised. This will lead to erosion of teeth and dental cavities. So drink enough fluids throughout the day, especially tap water to keep hydrated. And stay away from soft drinks!

Picture showing sugar cube equivalent of sugar content in these soft drinks.

Visiting your family dentist.

Most people don’t see any value in regular dental check ups. But this is the biggest mistake people make.

A dental visit once or twice a year, depending on your personal circumstances, allows the dentist to alert you to any problems that will arise. Prevention is cheaper than cure. Small issues detected early can be addressed quickly and this makes for a cheaper fix than letting things get out of hand, only to suffer pain and high dental costs later.

Dental problems are a sum of many years of neglect. Avoiding these problems requires a lot of self care on your part. The care required is not imposing and difficult, because small changes to your lifestyle goes a long way to better oral health.

Roland Chong

Roland has over 20 years experience as a general dentist. Roland does all aspects of general dentistry with a special interest in prosthodontics (crown and bridge work) and cosmetic dentistry. A member of the International Team of Implantology, Roland is constantly developing his skills by collaborating with international experts.