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preventing dental problems

What should I do to prevent common dental problems?

Prevention of common dental problems can be done by a combination of 3 ways:
1. Personal oral hygiene maintenance
2. Professional oral hygiene maintenance
3. Controlling your diet.

Personal oral hygiene maintenance

This is done by proper brushing and flossing. It is not just enough to brush your teeth, it is essential to brush them properly using the correct technique. Flossing removes plaque and food lodged in areas where the toothbrush cannot reach.

Professional oral hygiene maintenance

In addition to maintaining personal oral hygiene, it is important to have regular dental examinations and cleanings. The dentist will remove plaque or calculus from any areas of the teeth that you have missed during regular brushing, and will also check for any tooth decay or gum conditions. Overzealous or improper tooth brushing may also cause gum recession and wearing away of the enamel of the teeth in certain areas. This can be corrected by the dentist.

Controlling the diet - for you and your children

It is important to reduce the frequency of meals and snacks, especially of foods high in sugar content. In the presence of sugar and other carbohydrates, bacteria in the mouth produce acids which can demineralize the tooth material (enamel, dentin, and cementum). The more frequently teeth are exposed to this; the more likely it is that the teeth will get decayed (dental caries). Therefore, minimizing snacking is recommended, since snacks provide a continual supply of sugar for acid-creating bacteria in the mouth. Also, chewy and sticky foods (such as dried fruit or chocolate) tend to adhere to teeth longer, and therefore are best eaten as part of a meal. Brushing the teeth after meals is recommended. For children, the frequency of consumption of drinks with sugar, especially soft drinks, should be limited. For infants, bottle-feeding should be avoided as the baby is falling asleep or during sleep. This is to prevent feeding-bottle-caries, seen in infants who have had milk or sweetened liquid for prolonged periods in their mouth as they sleep, causing rapid decay of the teeth (especially the front teeth). Mothers should also avoid sharing utensils and cups with their infants to prevent transferring bacteria from the mother's mouth.

Professional Methods of preventing Dental Decay

One of the most effective methods of preventing dental decay especially in children, is the use of Dental Sealants, also called Pit & Fissure Sealants. Sealants are thin plastic-like coating applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth (molars). This coating prevents the accumulation of plaque in the deep grooves of these teeth and thus prevents the formation of pit and fissure caries, the most common form of dental caries. Sealants are usually applied on the teeth of children, shortly after the molars erupt. At orthodontix and more, we have these sealants available for application.