From serious gum disease to the possible disintegration of one’s jaw bone, dental health is something one should never neglect or take lightly says local dentist, Dr Danielle Walmsley.
With 12 years’ dental experience, the Courier spoke to the Dentique Ballito dentist to gain insight into the most common issues her patients face.
Starting with cavities, Dr Walmsley said frequent snacking, too much sugar, bacteria and, of course, not regular or properly brushing teeth all lead to cavities forming.
“Every time you have sugary or starchy snacks, the sugar and starch combine with the bacteria to form acids that wear down your enamel.
“If left untreated and allowed to worsen, the worst case scenario could see one needing a root canal. While it does take a long time for a tooth’s enamel to decay, once it has, the rate of decay accelerates as dentine (the main supporting structure of the tooth) is a lot softer.”
Interestingly, she explained that owing to the composition difference between enamel and dentine, what may appear to be a small hole in your tooth is actually three to four times the size beneath the enamel.
Eventually the nerve is impacted and could die. If this happens, a root canal is required.
“One should use every tool at your disposal to maintain healthy and clean teeth. Correct brushing twice a day, every day, is one example.”
Referring to periodontitis, Dr Walmsley said symptoms include bad breath, bright red swollen gums, gums that readily bleed, gum tenderness, receding gums and loose teeth – in some cases even tooth loss.
If periodontitis is left untreated the bone will continue to resorb and tooth loss will occur. If left untreated periodontitis could destroy a person’s jaw.
“It is not as uncommon as one would think. About 40-45% of adults in their 30s suffer from periodontitis. For those over 60, the figures go up to 65-75%.”
Periodontitis however is treatable, but may need deep scaling and in some cases even surgery.
“Education is key. Ask your dentist for advice on brushing. Prevention is always better which is why we recommend regular check-ups,” she concluded.
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