We believe that prevention is better than cure. That’s why we recommend regular checkups and preventive care, especially for children, to reduce the risk of major dental interventions by attending to minor problems before they become major ones. To ensure healthy teeth and gums, we advise you to attend regular recall appointments; follow an efficient at-home cleaning routine, including brushing and flossing; and to eat a balanced diet with limited intake of sugary and acidic foods.
Oral Hygiene Care
Our experienced dental hygiene team is focused on preventing dental disease (gum disease and tooth decay) and advising our patients on how to brush and floss effectively. Visiting the hygienist is usually advised to be done every six months. Our hygienist will carefully remove the deposits that build up on your teeth (calculus), discuss your diet and recommend other preventative measures. Your decay rate can also be reduced significantly through preventative treatment and early intervention which is more effective than addressing a more severe problem in the future.
Most of the population, both adults and children, suffer from some form of periodontal (gum) disease at some time, and it is the main cause of tooth loss in adults. The disease fortunately progresses very slowly in most people and can be slowed down even further by adopting a thorough oral hygiene routine, to a rate that should allow you to keep your natural teeth for life.
There are several stages of periodontal disease and they all affect the supporting structures of the teeth. As the disease progresses, the bone securing the teeth in the jaw may deteriorate and recede and cause teeth to become loose. Left untreated however, the gums may swell and bleed, the supporting tissues become affected, which can eventually lead to teeth falling out and other effects on your general health.
Taking the time to brush thoroughly at least twice a day for two to three minutes each time will greatly contribute to the removal of plaque and bacteria. Brushing and flossing removes bacteria and neutralizes acid in the mouth that causes decay and will keep your gums healthy.
Here are some tips on brushing and flossing effectively, so you can keep your teeth looking good for life.
Brush at a 45° angle to your teeth, directing the bristles to where your gums and teeth meet. Using a gentle, circular, massaging motion, up and down. It is important to remember not to scrub. Gums that recede visibly are often a result of years of brushing too hard.
Clean every surface of every tooth, both the front and back, as well as the chewing surface, the sides of the cheeks, and the tongue. This will remove any extra bacteria and freshen your breath.
Use a soft brush with rounded bristles. The correct toothbrush cleans better. Choose a size and shape that will allow you to reach all the way to your back teeth. There are many different types of brushes, so ask our hygienist to suggest the one that is best suited to your mouth. Integrity Dental recommends you replace your toothbrush every three months.
Flossing is a vital part of a good oral hygiene routine and is just as important as brushing for the removal of food and plaque from between teeth. Many people do not floss or floss incorrectly. Here are some tips to ensure you are getting the most benefit from flossing correctly. The instructions are for the traditional flossing method however you can use smaller disposable floss contraptions that make the process simpler.
Break off approximately 40cm of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers.
Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes used.
Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Avoid snapping the floss in your gum.
When the floss reaches the gum-line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
People who have difficulty handling dental floss may prefer to use another kind of inter-dental cleaner. These aids include special brushes, picks or sticks. If you use inter-dental cleaners, ask our hygienists how to use them properly, to avoid injuring your gums.
Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease caused by persistent infection of the soft tissues in the mouth, which results in inflammation and can lead to the destruction of the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligament and bone. Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of gum infection where these underlying tissues are seen to be deteriorating.
Gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by the long-term effects of plaque deposits. PLAQUE is sticky and develops on the exposed portions of teeth and consists of bacteria and food. It is a major cause of tooth decay. When plaque becomes hard it is called calculus and can become trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and calculus irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins bacteria produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen and tender.
If you have gingivitis you are more likely to get uncontrolled diabetes, increased sensitivity of the gums when pregnant due to hormonal changes, general illness and poor dental hygiene. Malocclusion, (misaligned teeth) rough edges of fillings and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as splints, dentures, bridges and crowns) can irritate the gums and increase the risk of gingivitis.
At some point in their life most people experience gingivitis to a varying degree. It usually develops during puberty or early adulthood due to hormonal changes and may persist or recur frequently. With regular oral hygiene care gingivitis is preventable.
Diet & Decay
What you eat affects your teeth. As well as having an impact on our body health, our choice of foods is also a big influence on the health of our teeth. Not only do foods high in sugar contribute to our weight, but they are major contributors to tooth decay.
Tooth decay starts with plaque which is a very sticky form of bacteria present in our mouths. When we eat or drink products with sugars or starches it produces acid that attacks the teeth for around 20 minutes after eating.
Saliva works to neutralise this acid and protect the teeth but it will not dissolve and remove plaque. This can only be done through a regular oral hygiene routine of having your teeth professionally cleaned (by our qualified hygienist) and brushing between visits at least twice a day – morning and night and flossing between teeth at least once a day.
Unfortunately some of our favourite foods are also some of the ones that are not good for our teeth. Reducing the amount of snacking between meals or snacking on more healthy food choices such as fresh fruit and vegetable sticks (eg. carrot, celery) and drinking water instead of soft drinks, will greatly limit the build up of plaque on your teeth, allowing it to be removed more easily when brushing.
A sports mouthguard that is tailor-made for you by Integrity Dental will do more than just protect your teeth. A properly fitted mouthguard can prevent a range of serious injuries that can be sustained during sport. These can include chipping and fracturing teeth, concussions, loss of consciousness, jaw fractures and neck injuries. The guard helps by preventing the lower jaw being forced into the upper jaw as well as simply protecting the upper front teeth from direct trauma. Mouthguards are also effective in moving soft tissue in the mouth away from the teeth, avoiding laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks.
It is just as important for children who play contact sport or participate in recreational activities where there is a significant chance of injury caused by a fall, as in skateboarding or bicycling, to wear mouthguards. This can prevent damage to the jaw and primary teeth and eliminate potential problems to the development of adult teeth resulting from such an injury.
Grinding and clenching your teeth may cause facial pain and headaches, premature wearing of your teeth or make them more sensitive. This condition is referred to as bruxism and people who grind and clench their teeth may bite down too hard at inappropriate times, such as in their sleep. Stress is often a major factor in bruxism. In addition to grinding their teeth, they may also bite fingernails, pencils and chew the inside of their cheek. About one in three people suffer from bruxism, which can easily be treated by Integrity Dental, through the provision of a splint.
Scheduling regular check-up appointments with the Integrity Dental team will enable us to detect any signs of bruxism at an early stage and develop an appropriate solution that best suits you.
Sometimes the solution is as simple as being shown how to relax your tongue, jaw, lips and teeth properly. Another treatment for people who suffer during sleep is the use of a splint. Similar in shape to a sports mouthguard, a splint is custom-made for an exact, comfortable fit and is designed to absorb the impact of clenching and prevent teeth grinding and eliminate any future damage.