Rotten teeth, tooth decay, and gum diseases like gingivitis or periodontitis are usually the result of poor oral care. These health conditions cost far more to repair than to prevent.
You may not be able to kill two birds with one stone, but when it comes to oral health there is one very simple and affordable thing you can do to avoid these serious – and potentially expensive – problems. That is: take preventive oral hygiene seriously.
Tooth decay and gum diseases get their start with a substance called plaque. Preventive oral hygiene includes daily efforts to eliminate plaque and prevent its build up. It also includes regular checkups and professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar that can build up on teeth despite dedicated daily care.
What is plaque?
Plaque is the name for a sticky and translucent substance that is constantly being produced by our mouths. The bacteria in plaque consume sugars that are contained in various types of food. This creates acids that attack the surface of the teeth and toxins that may attack the bone beneath the gums.
The acids assault tooth enamel for 20 or more minutes after you have sugary food or beverages. Eventually, the acids may begin to destroy the enamel, which is how tooth decay gets a foothold, so to speak.
Plaque can also penetrate below the gum line, where the toxins can threaten the underlying bone.
Plaque can also penetrate below the gum line, where the toxins can threaten the underlying bone. The result is gingivitis or periodontitis. Obviously, neither situation – a rotten tooth or poor gum health – is high on anyone’s wish list.
Treatments and costs
Not least among the reasons for avoiding tooth decay or gum disease is the expense involved in treatment. In either case, treatment options depend on the severity of the problem, and as the severity mounts, so do the costs for professional care.
…as the severity mounts, so do the costs for professional care.
Milder cases of tooth decay may be treated by simply using a fluoride-based treatment. If cavities have developed, however, a filling will be required. More severe cases may require that a dentist fit the tooth with a crown, perform a root canal operation, or even pull the tooth altogether.
Gum disease is likewise increasingly more expensive to deal with the longer it is ignored or left undiagnosed and allowed to progress. If a milder case of gum disease is caught in time, patients may be able to simply brush and floss their way back to optimal health. More serious cases will require professional cleaning by a dental hygienist to get rid of built up plaque. A severe case of gum disease may require antibiotics or even surgery.
Preventing tooth decay and gum disease
Repair or prevent? Well, we think it’s a “no brainer” – but then, consider the source…
If you really need any more convincing, try plugging the phrases “Oral Conditions and Diseases” or “Tooth Conditions and Disorders” into your browsers’ search bar and see what images come up. YUCKA!!!
But, if you’re already convinced about the power of prevention – and could use a brush up on oral care basics – check out this overview of basic dental care in our blog archives.
While you’re at it, why not call to schedule your next dental checkup?
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