Your teeth vary in shape and size depending on their position within your mouth. These differences allow the teeth to do many different jobs. Teeth help us to chew and digest food. They help us to talk, and to pronounce different
sounds clearly. Finally, teeth help to give our face its shape. A healthy smile can be a great asset and because this is so important, it makes sense to give your teeth the best care
What can go wrong?
Tooth decay can be painful lead to fillings, crowns or inlays. If tooth decay is not treated, the nerve of the tooth can become infected and die, causing an abscess. This may then need root canal treatment or even extraction. It is very important that you keep up a good routine to keep your teeth and gums healthy at home. Gum disease is the largest cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease is a preventable condition and can be treated and kept under control with regular cleaning sessions and check-ups, preventing further problems. If teeth are lost, it may be necessary to fill the gaps with bridges, dentures or implants.
How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy?
It is easy to get your mouth clean and healthy, and keep it that way. A simple routine of brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between the teeth, good eating habits, having sugary foods and drinks less often and regular dental check-ups can help prevent most dental problems.Although most people brush regularly, many don’t clean between their teeth and some people don’t have regular dental check-ups. A few small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in the long run.Your dentist or dental hygienist can remove any build-up on your teeth and treat any gum disease that has already appeared. But daily dental care is up to you, and the main weapons are the toothbrush and interdental cleaning. (Cleaning between the teeth).
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth and gums. Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. So correct and regular brushing is very important to keep your breath smelling fresh.
However,strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions can add to the problem.The bacteria on our teeth and gums (plaque) also cause gum disease and dental decay. One of the warning signs of gum disease is that you always have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. Again, your dentist or hygienist will be able to see and treat the problem during your regular check-ups. The earlier the problems are found, the more effective the treatment will be.
What are sensitive teeth?
Having sensitive teeth can mean anything from getting a mild twinge to having severe discomfort that can continue for several hours. It can also be an early warning sign of more serious dental problems.
Who suffers from sensitive teeth?
Many people suffer from sensitive teeth and it can start at any time. It is more common in people aged between 20 and 40, although it can affect people in their early teens and when they are over 70. Women are more likely to be affected than men.
What causes sensitive teeth?
The part of the tooth we can see is covered by a layer of enamel that protects the softer dentine underneath. If the dentine is exposed, a tooth can become sensitive. This usually happens where the tooth and the gum meet and the enamel layer is much thinner. Here are some causes of sensitivity.
When are teeth more likely to be sensitive?
You are more likely to feel the sensitivity when drinking or eating something cold, from cold air catching your teeth, and sometimes with hot foods or drinks. Some people have sensitivity when they have sweet or acidic food and drink. The pain can come and go, with some times being worse than others.
Is there anything I can do to treat sensitive teeth at home?
There are many brands of toothpaste on the market made to help ease the pain of sensitive teeth. The toothpaste should be used twice a day to brush your teeth. It can also be rubbed onto the sensitive areas. These toothpastes can take anything from a few days to several weeks to take effect. Your dentist should be able to advise you on which type of toothpaste would be best for you.
Is there anything I should avoid if I have sensitive teeth?
You may find that hot, cold, sweet or acidic drinks, or foods like ice cream can bring on sensitivity, so you may want to avoid these. If you have sensitivity when brushing your teeth with cold water from the tap, you may need to use warm water instead. It is important you do not avoid brushing your teeth regularly as this could make the problem worse.
Do I need to go and see my dentist?
Yes, if you have tried treating your sensitive teeth for a few weeks and have had no improvement.
What treatments can the dentist offer?
During an examination the dentist will talk to you about your symptoms. They will look at your teeth to find out what is causing the sensitivity and to find the best way of treating it. The dentist may treat the affected teeth with special de-sensitising products to help relieve the symptoms. Fluoride gels, rinses or varnishes can be applied to sensitive teeth. These can be painted onto the teeth at regular appointments one or two weeks apart, to build up some protection. Sensitivity can take some time to settle, and you may need to have several appointments. If this still does not help, your dentist may seal or fill around the neck of the tooth, where the tooth and gum meet, to cover exposed dentine. In very serious cases it may be necessary to root-fill the tooth.
How can I prevent sensitive teeth?
Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Use small circular movements with a soft-to medium-bristled brush. Try to avoid brushing your teeth from side to side.