At Ashburton Family Dental, we’re firm believers in the value of addressing problems in their infancy, before they become more serious issues. Many of the most common dental problems, such as tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth sensitivity, oral cancer, bad breath, can be minimised with a good preventive program that includes regular checkups, especially for your children, and an efficient at-home cleaning routine that includes brushing and flossing.
Regular Visits and examinations
Regular preventive care can help reduce the risk of major dental work, by treating minor problems before they become major ones. We recommend you visit Ashburton Family Dental every six months for an examination and professional clean.
Regular examinations can help prevent tooth and gum problems, and keep your smile bright and healthy and your breath fresh. During your visit we will look for signs of tooth decay or gum disease; perform scaling and polishing to prevent oral diseases; and provide advice on good oral hygiene practice such as tooth brushing and flossing techniques. We can also refer you to a medical doctor, dental specialist or dental hygienist if necessary.
Brushing & flossing
An effective at-home hygiene routine is crucial to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. We recommend you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once a day, to keep your teeth and gums healthy and your breath fresh.
Plaque is a clear, sticky film on the surface of your teeth and gums. When it’s not properly removed by thorough brushing and flossing, plaque becomes tartar, a hard substance which you cannot remove at home.
Tartar causes irritation and inflammation, and red and tender gums that bleed when you brush and floss. This is often a sign of gingivitis, which if left untreated can progress to periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease linked to bone deterioration and tooth loss.
At Ashburton Family Dental we are happy to advise you on cleaning and flossing techniques, to give your family the best at-home oral care and a healthy, bright smile for life.
Periodontal and gum disease
Red, swollen gums that bleed easily when you brush and floss may be a sign of gum disease, the most common cause of tooth loss. Gum disease has also been linked to stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Fortunately, your Ashburton Family Dental dentist can provide periodontal treatment that can help prevent the progression of gum disease, as well as improving your overall oral health.
Your at-home brushing and flossing routine is also crucially important. That’s because correct brushing eliminates plaque from the surfaces of the teeth, while flossing removes plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line.
During a typical checkup at Ashburton Family Dental, your dentist or dental hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar from both above and below the gum line of all your teeth. If signs of gingivitis are detected, your dentist may recommend that you return for future cleanings more often than twice a year, or that you use a toothpaste or mouth rinse that is approved for fighting gingivitis. We may also recommend a procedure called scaling and root planing (SRP), to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line.
The food and drink you consume has just as big an effect on your teeth and gums as it does on your overall health. Sugary, starchy foods and drinks will react to the bacteria in your mouth to produce acid, which will attack your tooth enamel, causing decay and potential tooth loss.
An important point to remember is that it’s not so much the amount of sugar and starch you eat, but the frequency. For example, if you continually snack and consume sweet drinks throughout the day, you will expose your teeth to acid for longer periods.
Reducing how often you have sugary or starchy drinks and snacks will help you maintain the best oral health. Replace your sweet treats with cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, or nuts, and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production, your body’s natural mouth acid neutraliser. Rinsing with water after eating can also help.
Though it’s an embarrassing condition, bad breath will occasionally affect most adults, and up to a quarter of adults on a regular basis. Bad breath is usually caused by bacteria breaking down proteins in your mouth.
As bad breath is almost always caused by a problem in the mouth, a visit to your dentist can usually help. Ashburton Family Dental can carry out dental treatment required to eliminate disease or food stagnation areas. If no oral cause can be identified by your dentist, it may be necessary to attend a clinic that specialises in breath odours, or to visit other health professionals.
Smoking and your oral health
Today, everyone should be aware that smoking is very hazardous to our health. But what you might not realise is that smoking also has an extremely detrimental effect on your teeth and gums.
Smoking can cause many chronic dental problems, such as discolouration of the teeth, chronic bad breath, gum inflammation, infection, teeth loss, and even oral cancer.
Oral cancer is of course the most serious problem smoking causes in the mouth, and heavy smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer. Every year in Australia, the death rate from oral cancers exceeds the death rate from cervical cancer, and even road deaths. Visiting Ashburton Family Dental regularly is a way to help detect abnormalities and diagnose oral cancer for early treatment.
The best advice we can give you is to quit smoking. Without this, any kind of dental treatment will be difficult, and maintaining oral health will be virtually impossible.
Overall dental health
At Ashburton Family Dental we are always happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your at-home routine, oral hygiene advice and diet. Our entire practice is designed to provide a relaxed, welcoming environment so that you and your family are completely comfortable with ensuring your continued good dental health.