>> Dental health <<
1. What does this mean?
Dental health includes all aspects of health and how our mouth works, especially regarding our teeth and gum. Other than to allow us to eat, talk, laugh (think about white smiles), our teeth and gum also have to find infections and bacteria, which can cause cavities, gum inflammation, teeth decay and bad breath.
Cavities is a hole that appear in the teeth and is the most common dental health problem. Cavity prevention consists in a good oral hygiene combined with the use of fluoride and the consumption of food that will not cause cavities.
Just like the nose of the Sphinx, teeth can also erode. This is normal and is part of tooth aging. The tooth enamel can deteriorate following exposition to acidic substances other than the the one made by dental plaque.
Wearing out and abrasion are other form of tooth erosion. The wearing out of the teeth is caused by the natural contact of teeth between each other. Erosion is caused by external mechanical factors, such as bad brushing technique.
Paradontosis is the inflammation of the gum and other deeper structures. The most common type of paradontosis is gingivitis, which is the result of infection and inflammation of the gum and other dental tissues. Extreme cases of paradontosis can lead to tooth loss.
2. Why is dental health so important for the well-being and the overall health?
Mouth health and teeth care are closely connected to general health and to the well-being. The ability to chew and swallow is essential to get all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Moreover, lacking dental health can also impact on the speech and, which can possibly affect self-confidence. Dental diseases and problems also lead to financial and social issues, because they are costly to fix. Furthermore, dental pain due to poor dental health is also the cause of many miss school or work days.
3. The how and the why of cavities
Cavities are the result of acid generated erosion caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque. Those bacteria creates a sticky coat, the dental plaque. Those bacteria eat sugars and secrete acidic products. Those acidic products dissolve minerals such as calcium and phosphorus found in teeth. This is demineralization of teeth.
Cavities can be fixed. Saliva wash off the food in the mouth and neutralize the acidic products released by the bacteria. This process is essential for teeth remineralization. Saliva also brings the fluoride found in the toothpaste or other dental cleaning products to the teeth. Fluoride is used to help control cavities by helping tooth remineralization by inhibiting the production of acids by the bacteria, therefore slowing teeth corrosion.
Fortunately, the formation of cavity doesn’t occur easily. It usually happens once there is an unbalance between demineralization and remineralization.
4. What can increase the formation of cavities
There are several factors that can influence the development of cavities. The susceptibility to cavity varies between people and between each tooth in the mouth. The shape of the jaw and of the mouth, the structure of the teeth, saliva quantity like quality are all factors that will influence predisposition of tooth decay. For example, some teeth may have more hollows or cracks, that allow bacteria and acids to get in more easily. Sometimes, the structure of the jaw or the dentition structure make toothbrushing, flossing or cleaning of some area more difficult.
How much saliva is produced and its quality give a good idea of how teeth remineralization. For instance, cavities usually don’t form at the front of the mouth, where teeth are more exposed to saliva flux.
The type and number of bacteria in the mouth is also an important factor to tooth cavity. All bacteria can ferment sugars into acidic products, but some species of Streptococcus and Lactobacilli produce more. Therefore, a higher presence of those strains in the dental plaque increase the risk of erosion. Some people have higher concentrations of those bacteria on their teeth, generally due to poor dental hygiene.
This is why it is important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime, with your electric toothbrush, floss your teeth every day and reduce you consumption on high in sugar food, such as candies.