The best treatment is prevention. There are several contributing factors that determine your oral health.
The American Dental Association sites the following factors as contributing causes of cavities and decay:
- Nutrition: diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates (processed foods)
- Poor Oral Hygiene: allowing plaque, a film of cavity causing bacteria, to remain on teeth for extended periods of time
- Other factors: dry mouth (sometimes caused by certain medications), unusual tooth morphology, drug/alcohol abuse, eating disorders, chemo/radiation therapy
Proper home care to help prevent cavities:
- Brush and floss your teeth at least 2 times per day for 2 minutes each time. Parents should help children brush until they are around ages 7-8, where they have enough dexterity to successfully clean all teeth surfaces
- Limit your sugar intake and snacking. Snacking allows plaque to grow continuously throughout the day, increasing the probability of the acid produced by the plaque to deteriorate tooth structure, causing cavities
- Topical fluoride rinses and fluoride toothpaste help to remineralize non-cavitated lesions that have been demineralized from the acid producing bacteria (plaque), thus helping prevent cavities
- Systemic fluoride is available through the City of Beaverton's water supply, however, studies show that the best form of fluoride in cavity prevention is topical application, such as rinses and toothpastes, as discussed above. We also offer in-office fluoride treatments.
For other questions and concerns, please ask a member of our dental team at your next visit, or feel free to contact us.
Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
Healthy gingivia (the tissues that support the teeth) are pink, and firm around the teeth. Periodontal disease is the disease of these tissues around the teeth. Gingivia can be kept healthy by regular brushing and visits to your dentist.
Measurements of the pockets that surround each tooth are taken at yearly intervals for adult patients. Pocket depths of 1-3 mm is considered healthy gingivia, whereas pocket depths of 4 or greater begin to transition into periodontitis, which includes possible bone loss. Your hygienist or Dr. Nguyen will discuss options to help stabilize your gum disease.
Stages of Gum Disease:
- Gingivitis: This stage is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when touched. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and it is reversible by regular brushing, flossing and dental prophylaxis.
- Chronic Periodontitis: This stage of gum disease is characterized by tissue that has been damaged beyond repair. The pockets that surround the teeth usually measure 4 or more millimeters, allowing food and plaque to be trapped. Dr. Nguyen may prescribe a prophylactic rinse to reduce bacteria count and promote tighter ginigivia and lesser pocket depths. Regular periodontal maintenance cleanings from your hygienist are necessary to help stabilize this phase of gum disease.
- Advanced Periodontitis: This stage is characterized by the loss of gum tissue and supporting bone structure. Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease, where without treatment can necessitate removal of existing teeth. Regular dental cleanings are necessary to help stabilize this stage of the disease.