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Tooth decay is a slow, destructive process. In its earliest stages, a decayed tooth, is easily treatable. If left untreated it will lead to dental infection and tooth loss. The best defense against tooth decay is good oral hygiene along with regular dental visits. These routine dental visits will give your dentist the ability to detect tooth decay in its earliest stages.

Signs Of Tooth Decay

-Pain/Discomfort. Having any kind of oral or tooth pain is not normal. It is usually a sign that something is wrong.

-Tooth SensitivityThis can be due to a variety of things but it is important to note the type of sensitivity present. Is it sensitive to hot temperatures, cold temperatures, or both? Is it sensitive to sugary foods? Is it sensitive to acidic foods? If the tooth or teeth are sensitive to most or all of the questions posed than it is cause for concern.

-Persistent Bad Breath (Halitosis). Bad breath can be caused by many things like the foods we eat, periodontal disease, and systemic disease (like diabetes). Tooth decay can also present itself with a persistent malodor due to the bacteria present in tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Treatment

Treatment of tooth decay usually takes two routes. One is when it is detected early enough to see if it will reverse itself through remineralization and the other is restoring the tooth to its natural form and function.

-Remineralization. Very shallow cavities in our teeth can sometimes fix themselves with a little help. These cavities must only be in the outer layer of our teeth (enamel). Once it passes theough this layer the tooth decay will not reverse itself. The repair process is known as remineralization. Application of fluoride to the teeth can reverse the process of early tooth decay. This is usually done using a fluoride supplement or through application at a dental office. Fluoride can be harmful at high levels so it is important to follow your dentist’s advice.

-Dental Restoration. Once the tooth decay enters the underlying layers of a tooth it is time for a dental restoration to restore the form and function of the teeth. Restorations can include dental amalgam, dental bonding, and dental crowns. Dental crowns (can be porcelain or gold) are necessary when the tooth decay is extensive.

-Root Canal Therapy. This treatment will be necessary if the tooth decay has entered the “nerve center” of the tooth. This allows the dentist to save the tooth preserving it for future use. Once a tooth receives a root canal it is generally recommended that a dental crown be placed.

-Tooth Extraction. If a patient decides to forego root canal therapy or the decay is so extensive that it is not able to be restored, the only option is to remove the tooth (or what is left of that tooth). This is usually a last resort option.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

It is important to remember that tooth decay is preventable and even if it does arise it can be treated with minimal care. The key is early diagnosis. The only way to diagnose tooth decay early is through regular dental examinations and routine radiographs. At the first sign of tooth decay call your dentist to evaluate the situation.

For a long time now, it has been recommended to brush and floss to maintain good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing alone may not be enough for many patients. The

Oral Rinses Marielaina Perrone DDS

Oral Rinses Can Keep Your Smile Shining!

addition of an oral rinse can offer unique benefits that brushing and flossing are unable to achieve. Some of the oral rinses on the market can be used to treat gingivitis, assist in the remineralization of teeth, treat dry mouth, as well as help whiten our teeth. The main advantage of an oral rinse is its ability to reach all areas of the mouth, between teeth, and under the tongue. This gives it the ability to reach bacteria that normal brushing and flossing may not.

Types Of Oral Rinses

There are many different kinds of oral rinses available in stores today they generally fall into two categories:

-Cosmetic Oral Rinses. This type of rinse is used for purely cosmetic reasons including temporarily masking bad breath or teeth whitening agents to lighten color of teeth. These usually have antibacterial properties as well as anti cavity protection but not very potent in those areas. Cosmetic rinses are commercial, over the counter products that help remove oral debris before or after brushing, temporarily suppress bad breath, diminish bacteria in the mouth, and refresh the mouth with a pleasant taste, like mint. Cosmetic oral rinses reduce mouth odors, or halitosis. Some do kill bacteria for a short time, but there is no lasting health impact that you could ascribe to them. The bacteria killed by these types of mouth rinses will grow back eventually, and while you’ll have fresh and minty breath in the short-term, these rinses don’t actually improve your oral health.

-Therapeutic Oral Rinses. This type of rinse is meant to fix a persistent oral issue such as gingivitis. Therapeutic rinses have all of the benefits of cosmetic rinses but also contain an added active ingredient that helps protect against some oral diseases. Therapeutic oral rinses are effective in two ways. One is to simply attack bacteria by stop it from reproducing or to kill it. The other newer way is to hinder the bacteria’s ability to attach itself to oral surfaces. If the bacteria cannot attach itself to any oral surfaces plaque cannot form. Dentists will prescribe special rinses for patients with the following issues:

1. Tooth Decay

2. Periodontal Disease

3. Gingival Inflammation

4. Dry Mouth (Xerostomia).
Therapeutic rinses also are highly recommended for those who cannot brush due to physical impairments or medical reasons. A good example is Chlorhexidine which is a very common oral rinse used to treat periodontal disease. It is powerful because its effects last longer than some of the other mouth rinses.

Are There Oral Rinses For Children?

Oral rinses are especially effective for children since their dexterity and attention to detail is usually less than that of an adult. The oral rinses will ensure all areas of the

Oral Rinses Marielaina Perrone DDS

mouth are reached. Oral rinses for children generally have no alcohol and most usually do not have fluoride. They can be antibacterial or they can be used for pre brushing staining of plaque areas.

Oral Rinses Conclusion

Mouth rinses do serve a purpose, whether to freshen your breath or help fight plaque and gingivitis. They can be a vital addition to any oral hygiene regimen. Remember they are not a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. Those are still the main component of the at home oral hygiene program with oral rinses acting as a supplement. Recent studies have shown that oral rinses can reduce plaque and the risk of gingivitis when used in addition to tooth brushing compared with tooth brushing alone. Whatever oral rinse you choose, be sure to follow the instructions and avoid swallowing. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings. Remember, when choosing a mouth rinse product, pick one that has the ADA seal of approval.