Q & A

 

Everything you were afraid to ask me personally!

This section poses answers to questions about maintaining your teeth so they do last for your entire life.

 

  1. Should my teeth last for my lifetime?

  2. What can I do to keep my teeth for life?

  3. What is the ideal home care program?

  4. What kind of toothbrush should I use?

  5. Is it necessary to use toothpaste to clean my teeth?

  6. Is the fluoride in toothpaste effective?

  7. What kind of dental floss should I use?

  8. Should my teeth last for my lifetime?

 

–Should my teeth last for my lifetime?–

YES.  The teeth and chewing system that Nature gave us is intended to sustain life as much as the rest of the body.  In simpler societies where diet is less sugared and refined and where lifestyle is less stressful,  many individuals keep their teeth for their lifetime.

The changes in dietary habits of Americans have made it difficult to keep one’s natural teeth.  The high sugar content of processed foods is directly relates to the epidemic amount dental decay today.  Even though the introduction of fluoride into urban water supplies has resulted in the hardening of dental enamel of the last few generations of children, diet continues to be a major factor in lifelong dental health.

What goes into your mouth effects your teeth twice; once as it passes through the mouth and again as saliva.  Eating sugars increases acid levels during chewing, and in the saliva.  A high acid level creates ideal conditions for bacteria to decay the teeth.

People loose teeth in childhood and adulthood for different reasons.  In childhood, body fluids are usually more acidic.  Children often lack the motor skills necessary to thoroughly clean their teeth. Plaque build-up, a soft, high sugar diet and more acidic oral pH creates ideal conditions for tooth decay.

In adulthood, the pH of your mouth becomes less acidic which reduces tooth decay.  Now the primary factor causing loss of teeth is the chronic breakdown of the gums and bone.  Periodontal (gum) disease develops because of injury to gums and bones.  Accumulated debris and bacteria on the teeth irritate the gums which swell and become puffy.  In these conditions the bone holding the teeth begins to resorb which can cause them to fall out or die prematurely.

Habitual patterns such as grinding teeth or dysfunctional tongue movements can cause poor occlusion (meeting of upper and lower teeth) which creates unbalanced stress on the teeth and bones.  Spaces left open after a tooth is lost encourage the collapse of the bite and further stresses the bony foundation.  This cycle of excessive stress and erosion of the support system for teeth is entirely preventable.

Yes, the teeth should last for your lifetime.  Your diet, your personal habits, and your personal adaptations to the stresses of living are all keys to oral and dental health.

 
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–What can I do to keep my teeth for life?–

{Here are the short answers to the general question.}

Diet: The lower the sugar in the diet, the better for the teeth.  Variety of texture in the diet is also important.  Crisp, chewy and tough foods exercise the muscles and stimulate the gums.  Gum and soft sticky foods are especially undesirable because the pumping action of chewing forces sugars and acids into tooth crevices and under fillings.

Personal Oral Hygiene: USE YOUR ROTO-DENT!!!  Brushing three times a day and flossing once a day removes plaque and food debris.  This controls bacterial growth and tartar build-up.  Proper brushing includes massaging the gums to keep them fit.  Treat your teeth with respect: do not bite fingernails, pencils and other objects.  Wear a mouth guard for contact sports.

Your Dental Team: Find dental health professionals who will team with you.  Have routine examinations and cleanings.  Adults should see a dentist and/or hygienist once every six to twelve months.  Children need to be examined every six months.  Use the dental team for information, advice guidance and care.

Dental Decay: Have tooth decay removed and the cavities filled.  Fillings and crowns must restore the tooth to its exact and perfect contours.  Ask about the risks of dental filling materials to your particular system prior to agreeing to the fillings.  Immediately replace any teeth that you loose.

Gingival Health: Each tooth is surrounded by gums and bone.  Healthy tissues are essential to maintain strong teeth throughout life.  Most adult teeth are lost due to poor gingival health.  Bleeding or swollen gums is a serious condition and should not be allowed to persist.

Oral Stress and Traumatic Injury: Be alert to how stress or traumatic injury effects your oral muscles, teeth and bones.  An injury to your neck, back or head is likely to effect your bite and jaw joint, i.e. sport or auto accidents.  Be alert to taking stress in your mouth by grinding or clenching your teeth.  If you develop noise or pain in the jaw joint it should be evaluated immediately by qualified professionals.

 
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–What is the ideal home care program?–

The ideal home care program removes plaque from the teeth and stimulates the gums.  Plaque must be removed because bacteria stick to plaque and produce the acids that decay the tooth enamel.  You should brush your teeth at least twice a day following use of the Roto-dent.  Brushing removes bacterial plaque from the large surfaces of the teeth.  Dental floss should be used once a day to remove plaque between the teeth where a brush cannot reach or at least use your Roto-points, we give those away!

The tooth brush should also be used to stimulate circulation in the gum tissue by a gentle, massage. Healthy gums hold tight and smoothly around the teeth.  Unhealthy gums are puffy and swollen and bleed easily.  Proper, daily massage to the gums has the same benefits that regular exercise has on the larger body.  The good health of the gum tissues preserves the bone that holds the teeth solidly in place.

A note of caution.  A tooth brush and floss can be destructive to your teeth and gums if they are not used properly.  You should expect your dentist and dental hygienist to give you instruction in their use and to periodically review your technique.  If you have any question about your technique, ask for instruction.

 

–What kind of toothbrush should I use?–

You should select a small, straight-handled toothbrush with soft nylon bristles.  Nylon bristles are superior to natural bristles because they are softer and more flexible.  The bristles must be flexible for massaging the gums.  A small brush gives you better control.  Be sure that you ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how to properly use the brush to both clean the teeth and massage the gums.  Occasionally ask them to critique your technique.

 

–Is it necessary to use toothpaste to clean my teeth?–

Toothpaste is not necessary for cleaning the teeth.  Toothpaste masks odors as you brush your teeth.  Toothpaste may make your breath feel fresher.  If you choose to use toothpaste, select one that carries ADA Seal of Approval.  Materials such as baking soda and salt may be used as a safe alternative to commercial toothpaste.

Some manufactures claim that their product whitens the teeth and, indeed, may do so initially.  However, tooth whiteners may scratch the enamel of the teeth, creating more space for bacterial to grow.  These are not recommended for use without careful professional guidance and instruction.

 

–Is the fluoride in toothpaste effective?–

The fluoride in toothpaste is only marginally effective, but with all the sticky, sweet things that one eats and drinks on a daily basis, any amount is better than nothing.  We carry a prescription fluoride gel and toothpaste in the office, come by and we’ll discuss whether you need it or not.

 

–What kind of dental floss should I use?–

It is important to use dental floss, the choice is yours, waxed or unwaxed.  Floss creates the friction necessary to remove plaque from the tooth surface.

 
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