Dental Hygienists are increasingly valued members of the oral healthcare team who work under the prescription of a dentist. They work with preventive and therapeutic procedures aimed to prevent and/or control dental caries and periodontal diseases. They also provide oral healthcare advice and procedures such as scaling, polishing, placement of fissure sealants, taking of radiographs and administering of local anaesthetic.
(Courtesy of the IDA)
Tooth decay, is the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. Plaque, a sticky filmy layer of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods that contain sugar, the bacteria in it produces acids that attack your tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and, over time, your enamel will break down. This is when cavities (little holes in your teeth) can form.
Cavities (tooth decay) are more common among children, but changes that occur with aging make cavities an adult problem, too. Recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of gum disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque. Tooth roots are covered with cementum, a softer tissue than enamel. They are susceptible to decay and are more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold. It’s common for people over age 50 to have tooth-root decay.
Decay around the edges, or a margin, of fillings is also common for older adults. Because many older adults lacked benefits of fluoride and modern preventive dental care when they were growing up, they often have a number of dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings may weaken and tend to fracture and leak around the edges. Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices causing acid to build up which leads to decay.
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking.
- Check with your dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride (strengthens your teeth) and about use of dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) which is applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (where decay often starts) to protect them from decay.
- Visit us regularly for professional cleanings with our hygienist and oral examinations.
Click here to meet our hygienist: AnnMarie Bergin