Decay Prevention for Young Adults
This final article is an overview of preventive dental information for young adults about preventing dental decay, as well as a discussion on the importance of custom-made mouthguards.
A summary of practical advice on preventing dental decay
- Be effective in brushing your teeth. Learn the right way to achieve plaque control in all areas of the mouth. Spend some time with your dental hygienist and then make effective cleaning part of your daily routine to remove as much plaque as you can. It takes time to clean well; so don’t cut corners.
- Be aware of where the hidden sugars are in your diet. Consider changing the foods you choose to eat and serve your family and read labels when shopping.
- Try to reduce the number of times each day when you consume sugars. Reducing the number of times you consume sugar will reduce the time your teeth spend in an acid environment and that will reduce tooth decay.
- Reduce the number of times you drink fizzy drinks. This reduces the number of times the bacteria are fed sugar and produce acid to demineralise your teeth causing tooth decay. It also reduces the direct acid attack of the acid drink itself leading to erosion of the tooth surfaces and the development of painful tooth sensitivity.
- Drink water more often and try to make sure you drink 2-3 litres a day; more if you sweat or work in a hot environment (3-4 litres a day). If you go to the gym or play sport, you will sweat far more. Remember to increase the intake of water significantly to cover the additional fluid loss.
- We should also try to minimise the amount of caffeine we ingest in tea and coffee and of course drink a minimal amount of alcohol. All these lead to greater fluid loss through the kidneys. Reducing the intake of these diuretic drinks will help to ensure you produce an adequate quantity of good quality saliva to protect your mouth keeping the tissues healthy and the teeth intact.
- Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste to brush your teeth with and don’t wash out the mouth when you finish brushing. Just spit out the excess toothpaste mixed with your saliva. Leaving the fluoride on the teeth will help the teeth to repair after acid attack. Using a high concentration Fluoride mouthwash will provide additional protection.
- Make sure you have dental checks with a dentist. The dentist should check for decay and gum disease. A gum check requires gentle gum probing of all areas of the mouth to find any areas of gum inflammation that can indicate a destructive gum disease resulting in the loss of the bone supporting the teeth.
Finally protecting your teeth during sports
Decay and gum disease lead to tooth loss but so do contact sports.
Many sporting bodies in Australia insist that players wear mouth guards. The reason players should wear mouthguards is to protect the teeth from fracture or displacement of the teeth during collision with other players or hard objects.
Mouthguards come in many different types. There are those off the shelf varieties that you place in hot water and then mould them around the teeth and gums and they fit to a degree but they are not close fitting and are not truly protective.
A poorly fitting mouthguard is little better than wearing no mouthguard. It is, therefore, best to visit a dentist, have impressions taken and then have a professionally manufactured thick mouthguard constructed on models of mouth in a thick, hygienic dimensionally stable material. The cost of a high quality and effective mouthguard is far less than the costs faced to put right a dental injury and possibly have to replace missing teeth.
Some sports are known as contact sports and others are not, however, when playing sports where contact is not part of the sport, unintended falls or contact can still take place. Netball is an ideal example. It is advised that players of most sports should wear mouthguards.
Thank you for reading the final part of our “Preventive dental information for young adults” article.
contact the friendly team at NQ Surgical Dentistry today on (07) 4725 1656 or call in to see us at 183 Kings Rd, Pimlico QLD 4812
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