Healthy eating, regular exercise, and regular check-ups with your physician are vital for optimal health, but did you know that taking care of your oral health and seeing your dentist is just as important? Good oral health not only contributes to your mental and physical wellbeing, but it is also an essential part of your overall health and quality of life.
In order to prevent cavities and to ensure that your oral health is at its best, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family doctor in Vancouver, recommends patients see their dentist at least once a year for a thorough dental exam and cleaning.
By seeing your dentist on a regular basis, you prevent the risk of tooth decay and other oral-related health conditions such as gum disease, enamel degradation, and even infections. In addition to seeing your dentist regularly, you can also take some simple steps to prevent some of the aforementioned conditions.
Cavities are more likely to occur if you do not brush your teeth after eating sugary foods or drinking sugary beverages. Another way to prevent cavities is to eat a healthier diet. Dr. Ali Ghahary offers several tips on healthy eating, including information on low-carb diets, on his blog, which you can read by clicking here.
Flossing is another great way to ensure you are taking care of your oral hygiene and to prevent against gum disease, such as gingivitis. Gums that are healthy should feel firm and appear light pink in colour. However, gums that are unhealthy will often appear red and puffy, be tender, and bleed easily when you brush or floss your teeth. Along with poor oral hygiene, smoking and vitamin D deficiency can also lead to gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can cause severe infections and spread to the bones in your mouth, which can lead to your teeth requiring extraction – something dentists try their utmost to avoid.
Teeth become infected when the root fills with bacteria, causing damage to the nerves and pulp tissue. A tooth infection can be the result of a severe cavity or from a crack/fracture in the tooth. The only way to treat an infected tooth is to put the patient on antibiotics and perform a filling. In cases where the filling is too deep or close to the nerve of the tooth, the dentist will often suggest a root canal.
A root canal can be a complex and lengthy treatment. However, it will free you from any pain you are experiencing. It is not uncommon to be sensitive for one or two days after a root canal due to inflammation, but this can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen. Your doctor or dentist may also prescribe a few days worth of a medication known as Dexamethasone, which is commonly prescribed after dental work to help reduce inflammation.
Another common dental-related condition is temporomandibular joint disorder. It can cause extreme pain in the jaw and the teeth, and is usually the result of grinding or clenching your teeth at night. To prevent grinding and clenching, your dentist will recommend fitting you for a small device known as a mouth guard that you will wear when you sleep. Gentle massage and jaw exercises can also help to reduce the symptoms associated with TMD. Dr. Ali Ghahary shares more information on disorders of the temporomandibular joint here.