Teeth Whitening and Tooth Decay: The Expert’s Guide to Good Teeth

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Teeth Whitening and Tooth Decay

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While poor oral hygiene does affect the teeth, the gums, and also other parts of the oral cavity, it has been linked to cardiovascular diseases as well. Infection of the gums or periodontitis in other words is quite troublesome and can damage the teeth, soft tissue, and bone. It can potentially be a portal for the entry of other infections into the body.

In-office tooth whitening procedures involve bleaching agents. It is about an hour-long process, involving four steps, with bleaching gel being changed every 15 minutes. The results depend on the expertise of the dentist and the quality of the materials used. However, if the highly caustic bleaching gel is leaked onto the gums it can cause severe harm.

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What are the best whitening techniques? Will brushing your teeth twice a day actually make your teeth whiter and shinier?

Commercially available toothpaste cannot lead to the same results, since the bleaching agents need to remain in contact with the teeth for a prolonged period of time. Furthermore, the same strength of bleaching agents is not found in toothpaste preparations available to the public, for a very good reason. Bleaching agents can burn the gums even in small concentrations.

Does eating excessive sweets actually lead to tooth decay?

No. If the snacking is limited to certain times of the day and the teeth are duly brushed, then tooth decay does not necessarily ensue. Though this is not documented, if a child is nibbling candy at intervals throughout the day or consuming it as the last meal of the evening, then there is a greater chance of dental caries.

How often should people with no apparent dental complaints get checkups?

We advise a dental visit every six months, and people who are more conscientious about their dental health do comply with this advice. This helps to catch disease processes at an early stage when changes are still reversible.

How far do traditional cleaning techniques like miswak and manjan help? Can they substitute for regular toothpaste and toothbrush?

The research on this subject is still ongoing. While they do have a scrubbing or cleaning effect on the teeth and they are better than not cleaning the teeth at all, I don’t think they can substitute for the toothpaste and brush. The toothbrush can reach the inaccessible crevices in and around the teeth, which might be missed otherwise.

How adversely do tobacco products affect oral health?

The teeth of many smokers do not just get discolored, but are also adversely affected by gum disease, which in advanced cases can cause them to lose their teeth. Even if the teeth are replaced by implants, poor oral health due to continued smoking is going to affect them as well.

Other tobacco-containing products such as gutka and paan can lead to precancerous changes in the mouth. People from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds often seek medical attention when their situation has deteriorated significantly. At times, they are even unable to open their mouth, which signifies the onset of oral cancer.

What options do people with missing teeth have?

Implants are basically artificial teeth made out of titanium metal which is biocompatible. When it is placed into the bone, the latter integrates it and it can last 20 years. This procedure is contraindicated in smokers because the tissue in which the implant is embedded undergoes deterioration.

Just as in the case of natural teeth, the load of the implants is transferred to the bone. Implants are better than dentures since they save a lot of wear and tear of the soft tissue and save time otherwise spent removing and cleaning dentures or false teeth.

Of course, if someone is not in the habit of taking care of the natural teeth, then the life of the implants will also be reduced. The quality of life in people with implants is better than that of those who use dentures, but implants are more expensive and people skilled in the implant procedures are also fewer.

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