30 Mar Prevention is better than cure
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the proverb ‘prevention is better than cure’, and indeed the concept the phrase promotes. Even in ordinary times you’ll know that here at Peelhouse Dental we do bang on about the virtues of disease prevention and health promotion. Amidst this frustrating hiatus I wondered what I could do that might be helpful. So at the very least I’m going to mention a few interesting reads that might offer respite from all the coronavirus updates and series re-runs.
I’ll be brief with the advice although it is more important than ever. If you’re a regular patient at Peelhouse Dental we’ve already bored you stupid about the importance of maintaining effective oral hygiene and minimising sugary food and drink intake. Thing is, we can’t see you right now. The Chief Dental Officer for England has rightly issued instructions to all dental practices to close their doors to prevent the spread of Covid 19. And while we can’t intervene with physical treatment, there’s much you can do to reduce the risk of developing a dental problem that might otherwise be straightforward to treat. Seriously, what’s not to like about avoiding the dentist? See below for my ‘top tips’ for Avoiding dentists.
‘Wise words and wives’ tales’ is a great little book, full of useless trivia about the origins of phrases such as ‘a stitch in time…’ and ‘hope for best, prepare for the worst’.
Wise Words and Wives’ Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New” by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner
And in case anybody’s really missing the office banter, this one’s for you:
Avoiding dentists – Dr Matt Lawler’s 5 top tips
It might surprise some to know that truly urgent dental problems, thankfully, are fairly rare. It’s true that many dental problems can’t be predicted nor prevented, but most can. Tooth decay and gum disease are the two main biological diseases of the mouth, and both are largely preventable. Here’s how:
I know; boring, but true. Gum disease is basically caused by a person’s immune system defending itself against ‘plaque’. Plaque is more appropriately called ‘Biofilm’ and is the sticky ‘community’ of bacteria and their by-products that grows on your teeth. Different people respond differently to their biofilm, but simply removing it, or even just disturbing it, massively reduces your risk of gum disease. Best tool for the job – toothbrush.
Ok, there’s more to it than simply buying the latest top-of-the-range electric toothbrush. (Btw, a regular brush is just as good if you’ve got great technique). This is really why our hygienists and therapists are so vital; the main thing is to understand what you’re trying to do with your toothbrush, and that’s the disruption of biofilm (see above). If you can effectively clean every tooth surface every day you won’t go far wrong, whatever your toothbrush brand.
- Cleaning every tooth surface
Every one of your teeth has five surfaces. You can clean three of them with your regular toothbrush (manual or electric). The ‘in between’ surfaces escape this treatment – the best way to clean in between your teeth is with an ‘interdental brush’ such as a TePe. Super-easy to use, quick and effective.
- Fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride is the single most effective tool in the fight against tooth decay. Yes I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Effective brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste significantly combats the effects of bacteria and sugary foods.
- Moderate sugary food and drink
In these challenging times it’s tempting to graze on sugary snacks to ease the boredom. Don’t worry, I’m certainly not suggesting you kerb your favourite treats, but limiting how often you have them makes all the difference in reducing your risk of decay. Let me explain. When you eat something sugary the bacteria in your mouth break down the sugars and produce acid. The acid attacks and dissolves your teeth surfaces and decay can start. The good news is that saliva is very effective at neutralising the acids and actually repairs damaged enamel. However, it takes a good half an hour after eating a sugary snack for your mouth pH (acidity) to return to normal. During this time your teeth are under attack and the more times during the day you consume something sugary, the more potential for damage there is.
So, to summarise; brush really effectively with a good fluoride toothpaste, both around your gumline and in between your teeth, and reduce the number of times you eat something sugary.
The photo on this blog is courtesy of The Truthbrush – The beautiful bamboo toothbrush…
Visit their website at: www.thetruthbrush.com