Oral hygiene and diet are the perquisites in ensuring strong teeth and
a healthy smile. We often neglect and mistreat our teeth until they
become decayed, painful and have to be removed. Modern dentistry
techniques and dental products leave us no reason why we should
have stained or diseased teeth and gums. Here we will look at some
of the different conditions that cause dental problem, how they
can be treated and general tips for a pearly smile!
It is important to undertake advance
planning, careful precautionary and preventative measures to help reduce the
risk of falling sick
on holiday. General information on common illnesses, conditions and basic
precautions have been outlined below.
This soft, sticky layer of bacteria accumulates on the gums, along
the gum line and on teeth. It is the main culprit in tooth decay
and gum disease. It is made up of millions of bacteria that account
for some 70% of plaque with the remainder constituting carbohydrate
and saliva. Regular brushing will keep the plaque at bay.
This is a hard, pale, brittle substance found on the surface of
teeth. It is formed through the precipitation of calcium phosphate
onto plaque. It is found vigorously attached to the surface of teeth
and is difficult to remove through normal brushing. Tartar above
the gum line is quite common and not a serious problem, however
under the gum can nurture plaque and prevent its removal, this can
then lead to more serious problems. Removal of tartar requires the
expert attention of your dentist.
A common dental hazard, tooth decay or caries is caused by plaque
bacteria which stick to the teeth and form acid which eats away
at the surface of the tooth.
Tooth decay begins with the emergence of white spots on the enamel
caused by the loss of calcium. This de-mineralisation process
is countered by the natural defensive re-mineralisation process
the body. However
when de-mineralisation becomes incessant a cavity is formed. If
left untreated the bacteria may invade the pulp of the tooth resulting
in continuous toothache. A clove or clove oil has been known to
relief from toothache whilst seeking professional assistance.
The bacteria can also cause an abscess by reaching the root of
by which time extraction maybe the only option.
By taking x-rays your dentist will determine the extent of decay.
The decaying tooth may require a filling, a root filling or extraction.
Preventative measures include using a good fluoride rich toothpaste,
regular brushing, flossing, regular check ups and a good diet
void of excessive soft drinks, sweets etc. Ask your dentist for
As plaque builds up around the base of the teeth, poor oral hygiene
can cause changes in the quantity and quality of plaque and related
toxins that are produced. This causes gingivitis, which is an inflammation
and swelling of the gum tissue. This in turn results in the coming
away of gum tissue from the root of the tooth. This creates a pocket
allowing more plaque to accumulate and gum disease sets in. As explained
earlier, plaque can harden to form calculus (tartar) which can be
removed by your dentist. The early signs of possible gum disease
||Red swollen gums
||Increased movement in teeth
||Coming away of gums from teeth
Visit your dentist if
you detect any of the above symptoms. He/she will x-ray your teeth
to see whether the supporting bone of the
tooth has been eroded. This is a common cause of tooth loss. See
regularly and follow their advice. Brush your teeth regularly, use
colouring tablets to expose plaque which you may have missed and
remember to softly brush your gums as well as your teeth.
Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, tea and coffee are just some of the reasons
why our teeth lose there natural colour. These stains are not easily
removed by just brushing with normal toothpaste. To remove stains
the first course of action is to acquire toothpaste, which contains
an abrasive substance which gently cleans the teeth. There are many
such pastes available.
A more serious course of action is to seek
tooth-whitening treatment from your dentist. Your dentist will
advise you on two safe techniques.
The first is the home bleaching method monitored by your dentist
which utilises a gel and tray system which resembles a boxers mouth
The second method is via a simple medical procedure carried out
in the dentist’s surgery. Darker teeth may take longer to
bleach, as lighter stains are easier to remove. Tooth whitening
can last from
anywhere from 18 months to 3 years depending on eating, drinking
and smoking habits. Most treatments administered by your dentist
and will cause no damage to your teeth. Always seek the dentist’s
advice before undertaking any treatment.
An orthodontic problem is known as a malocclusion which means that
when a person closes their mouth they feel a bad bite and some
discomfort. Examples include missing teeth, extra teeth and out
of place jaws.
Malocclusions can be the result of accidents, late loss of baby
teeth or excessive thumb sucking.
A variety of orthodontic braces
are used and adjusted over a period of time to gradually correct
the fault. The two main types of
brace are either fixed or removable. The length of treatment
person to person and generally takes longer in adult cases.
The procedure is worth the commitment and improves the appearance
of teeth and bite.
Bacterial metabolisms within the mouth can cause bad breath
also known as halitosis. Brushing with good toothpaste and
rinsing with a mouthwash
which has anti-caries and anti-plaque properties is a good
way of reducing bad breath. Keep in mind thatadvanced tooth
can also be the cause of bad breath, especially when an abscess
has been formed. If the condition persists, arrange a visit
||Try and establish a routine
in your brushing by always starting in
the same place
||Your toothbrush should have
a soft to medium texture and a comfortable feel in your mouth
||Brush at least twice a day,
using fluoride toothpaste. Decay can occur overnight whilst
you are sleeping
||Always brush the three surfaces
of each tooth, the back, front and top.
||Remember to change your toothbrush
every three month or when the bristles start to splay
||Visit your dentist at least
once a year, so that your teeth can be properly examined
||Bacteria present in plaque feed
on sugar in the diet and cause decay, so reduce intake of sugary
||Chew sugar free chewing gum
which helps generate saliva which washes away acid
||Use the traditional Miswak,
a thick twig which is very effective at cleaning teeth & a
tradition of the Prophet (pbuh)
||Eat food that is kind to teeth,
vegetables, fruit, plain popcorn, yoghurt, bread, pasta and
Tips for Parents
||Make your child brush with a
fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first
||Keep sweet foods and drinks
to meal times only
||Do not put sweet drinks in a
||Register your children with
a dentist as early as possible