Tooth decay is the second most common disease that affects people. Everyone has experienced (or will) a toothache at least once in their lives. Adults, teens, and kids alike experience this very painful disease. Gum disease often follows tooth decay. If a toothache or gum disease is not treated on time, both can lead to serious complications and possible loss of teeth.
Fortunately, gum disease and toothaches are highly preventable diseases. Read ahead to find out more about protecting your teeth and the treatments available that will make sure that you can keep your smile even during old age.
What Causes Tooth Decay and Gum Disease?
Though the diseases affect different parts of your mouth, both tooth decay and gum diseases are caused by bacteria. You may not realize it, but your mouth is a flourishing environment for bacteria. There’s a fine balance struck between the bacteria in your mouth and your immune system, which uses things like saliva to keep bacteria from harming your teeth and gums.
However, this balance can be tipped when foods, especially sugar-containing foods, get stuck between teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feeds on the food that remains on your teeth. Once the bacteria has eaten candy, pieces of French fries, or meat stuck between your teeth, it excretes acids. These acids seep onto the hard and white enamel of your teeth, and breaks down the minerals, exposing the inner layers of teeth. Pain follows once nerve endings are exposed, and you could permanently lose your tooth if the decay continues.
Gum disease is also caused by bacteria inflaming the soft tissue of the gums. Your teeth are covered with a layer of sticky film containing bacteria known as plaque. You can feel it in the morning when you wake up. When plaque builds up excessively, the bacteria can harm the gums. If not treated, the gums can recede exposing the roots of the teeth, making them vulnerable to decay. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Preventing Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
There are definitely ways to prevent these common yet dreadful diseases. As dentists recommend, you should brush your teeth twice a day, limit sugary foods, and floss every week, among other things, to prevent plaque buildup and cavities. However, for some people, brushing is not enough to halt the disease. In this case, there are several other dentist recommended treatments you can try. You can read all about them below.
Keep in mind that the following treatments have to be prescribed by a dentist, and is thus different from buying a mouth rinse at the store. You should find a very reputable and accredited dental clinic, like Vibrant Dentistry, for the following treatments.
Brushing does not work on all teeth equally. The back teeth (your molars) are particularly hard to brush because of the pointy surfaces they have that food can securely get stuck on. That’s why back molars are very prone to decaying. In case you can’t rely on your toothbrush to keep back teeth clean, you can try a dental sealant.
A dental sealant is a very thin layer of resin that a dentist will literally brush onto the surface of your teeth. The sealant will protect the enamel in case any food gets stuck on them. A dental sealant can last as long as a decade so they are well worth the price.
Low-level Laser Therapy
Low-level Laser Therapy, or LLT, has been a dental treatment for a variety of diseases for over two decades. It’s now popularly used to treat conditions like tooth decay, canker sores, cold sores, and gum problems. LLT is sometimes used for advanced teeth whitening.
Basically, LLT delivers a non-ionizing laser wave (a safe laser) to the tissues of the gum. Once focused, these laser ways can kill bacteria that causes problems like gum disease or cavities. You must find an accredited dentist for this procedure. For example, at Vibrant Dentistry Mesa, dentist accreditation is openly shown.
You may have already heard about the recommendation to brush teeth with fluoride toothpaste. That’s because fluoride is a mineral that can kill bacteria and protect the enamel of teeth. Numerous clinical studies have shown the enormous benefits of fluoride to teeth. For some people, fluoride in toothpaste or tap water is not enough to protect decaying teeth. If this is the case, you can go to a dentist to receive special fluoride treatments to keep tooth decay at bay.
Don’t let gum disease or tooth decay get out of control. Be informed and ask your dentist if the above treatments are suitable for you.