Dental plaque, or a mass of bacteria, is constantly growing on the surfaces of the teeth. It causes cavities and gum inflammation.
To keep the mouth healthy and fresh, all five surfaces of each tooth must be regularly cleaned. Brush the teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. In addition, use a toothpick, floss or an interdental brush to clean between the teeth.
Toothpicks and interdental brushes effectively prevent inflammation
- The cross-section of your toothpick should be triangular.
- Toothpicks are available in various thicknesses.
- Moisten a toothpick with water and put it between your teeth with the base of the triangle touching your gum.
- Push the toothpick as far between the teeth as it will go and rub the surfaces clean with it.
Cleaning between tightly spaced teeth using floss
- There is a variety of fine and thick floss and floss holders available.
- Try different options to find the floss that suits you best.
- Take about 30 cm of floss and tie it into a loop.
- Use your fingers to keep the floss taut and slip it between your teeth using a back-and-forth motion.
- Move the floss to clean the surface and gum pockets of both teeth.
- Rinse the floss before moving on to the next pair of teeth.
Inflamed gums bleed easily. Regular flossing will heal the inflammation, in which case the bleeding will also stop.
Should my child pull out their loose baby teeth?
Yes, they should. Baby teeth (also called primary teeth) usually fall out on their own because their roots dissolve as permanent teeth begin to erupt. It is a good idea to encourage the child to pull out their own loose baby teeth. A good way to do this is to grab the wobbly tooth with a piece of tissue paper or kitchen paper and wiggle it loose.
Permanent teeth start replacing children’s primary teeth around the age of 5 or 6. This continues until adolescence. There are 20 baby teeth in total. Usually all of them get replaced by permanent teeth over the years. When permanent teeth erupt, they sometimes only have little space in the child’s small mouth. The situation often fixes itself as the child’s jaws grow.
A dentist’s help is usually only needed if a permanent tooth has erupted but the primary tooth has not even started to become loose.
What is inflammation of the gums and what are its symptoms?
Healthy gums are pink and firm. They do not bleed. In its early stage, gum inflammation – also called gingivitis – causes bleeding when you brush your teeth. Bleeding and painful gums can be treated with thorough oral care at home: carefully brush your gum lines and clean the spaces between your teeth with floss, toothpicks or an interdental brush.
Gum inflammation is often linked to calculus buildup. Calculus, or tartar, is hardened dental plaque that cannot be removed by brushing. Plaque and calculus buildup on the surfaces of the teeth and in the gum pockets cause gum inflammation. If the condition advances, it starts damaging the soft tissue holding your teeth in place and, if left untreated, will eventually cause your teeth to fall out. Smoking reduces blood flow to the gums and hinders the healing of gum diseases.
It is a good idea to have your calculus removed by a dental hygienist or dentist. They will also suggest a time for your next appointment.
Are ordinary or electric toothbrushes better?
When used correctly, both are efficient.
The benefits of an electric toothbrush include its effective motion and the small, soft brush that makes it easy to clean even the hard-to-reach surfaces of your back teeth. If you use an electric toothbrush, brush one teeth at a time without pressing too hard or moving the brush back and forth. The timer on the brush reminds you to keep brushing long enough.
If you use an ordinary toothbrush, it should be soft and small. To brush your teeth, move the brush back and forth, using short strokes, along each row of teeth. Brush a few teeth at a time.
Go systematically through all surfaces and pay particular attention to your gum lines.
You should replace your toothbrush at least once every three months and whenever it looks frayed.
Why are my teeth sensitive to hot or cold? How can I prevent it?
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many reasons, such as caries (tooth cavities), cracked teeth, erosion, abrasion (wear) or exposed root of the tooth due to gum recession.
If tooth sensitivity is caused by receding gums, it is important to make sure that you are using a soft brush (soft, extra soft and silky soft) and brushing gently. Toothpastes for sensitive teeth may help if used regularly.
What causes my mouth to feel dry? How can it be treated?
Your mouth feels dry when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. Some medications and diseases may reduce its production. Breathing through your mouth and hormonal changes may also cause mouth dryness.
The symptoms may be alleviated by drinking water, using dry mouth drops that moisten the mouth, and using xylitol products and moisturising mouth gels sold in pharmacies. A non-foaming fluoride toothpaste, also available in pharmacies, is recommended. Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as they will dry your mucous membranes. As there is less saliva to protect your teeth, consuming acidic, sugary drinks and drops causes an acid attack and increases the risk of tooth cavities.