Dental Hygiene – eliminating a key ingredient in the recipes for dental disaster
The lockdown period from earlier this year was a time where many of us (who were fortunate enough to be able to spend more time comfortably at home) found ourselves cooking a lot more often than we normally would. For inexperienced chefs such as myself, the careful reading and following of recipes became a much more frequent routine.
Something I like to tell my patients is that most of the problems we face in dentistry require a certain few specific things to be present, much like any dish requires a recipe with specific ingredients. For example, if you remove flour from sourdough it becomes very difficult to create the final intended bread product. I believe this concept can be useful when applied to the field of dentistry in the following ways:
Dental cavities mostly require two ingredients to occur – one is dental plaque or bacteria, and the other is carbohydrates (sugars being the most effective type). To look at it very simply, if you remove one or both of these ingredients, you make it hard for cavities to occur! This is why brushing and interdental cleaning (cleaning between the teeth) is encouraged so often – it’s a simple way of effectively removing one of the “ingredients” in the recipe for dental cavities. I even have some dental colleagues who have such good oral hygiene that they can get away with snacking on sweets without having any issues! If you’re reading this, you know who you are 😊… On the other end of the spectrum, I see many patients who aren’t fantastic with their oral hygiene but they maintain very good diets with almost zero sugar intake whatsoever – they’ll still end up with some issues, but their diet control helps to keep things mostly in check.
The other major issue we deal with as dentists is gum problems. Slightly more complex than cavities, these issues require many more “ingredients” – however, yet again, the major ingredient is dental plaque or bacteria. Yes, in patients with more severe forms of these issues – gingivitis and periodontitis or gum disease – it can be difficult to remove bacteria from the teeth; but by seeing a dentist or hygienist who does a thorough job, and by being meticulous with your home dental hygiene routine, you can completely eliminate the bacterial “ingredient” from this recipe and stop gum issues in their tracks!
During this period where people are spending more time at home and trying to navigate a multitude of financial hurdles, it’s more important than ever to focus on dental hygiene in order to stop major dental issues from occurring. At Riseley Street Dental, we have an ongoing commitment to prevention and education, with the goal of saving our patients from nasty unnecessary problems. This month we’ll be discussing how we’re renewing our approach to dental hygiene as a practice, and how we’ll be improving our patient care without compromising on our personalised approach in guiding our patients towards great oral health.
Author: Dr. Gregory Yap
Image: Via Pinterest