Dentists are dealing with the new realities of disrupted dental care and personal oral health. This has led to more severe cases of tooth decay, advanced gum disease, and complications that can require tooth extraction. As the pandemic continues in Singapore, the consequences of reduced oral hygiene increases the number of tooth decay cases and the advancement of periodontal disease.
Today, people see their dentist less often than before the pandemic started because dental care is considered a less urgent priority. Furthermore, eating more snacks is leading to more tooth decay and other related conditions that makes dental treatments more complex. Other health complications from increased intake of sugary foods and drinks also contribute to tooth decay and more serious infections.
What Are the Risk Factors for Tooth Decay and Gum Disease?
In the past, many people were able to avoid tooth decay because they brushed their teeth regularly. Now, with a decrease in dental visits and lackadaisical brushing habits despite being at home, tooth decay is on the rise. The increase in snacking, sugary drinks and decrease in brushing all contribute to the higher incidence of tooth decay. Bacteria, acid, food and saliva forms in the mouth into plaque on the teeth. Clinging plaque erodes enamel on the tooth’s surface that leads to decay.
In addition, gum disease is a problem during the pandemic when people are making less frequent visits to the dentist. Gum disease is a multi-factor disease caused by inflammation at the gum margin, usually plaque related. This inflammation can lead to gum recession. Gum recession causes teeth to become more susceptible to decay and advanced gum disease. Typically easily addressed with proper oral health care and routine visits to the dentist, the condition is going untreated causing bone loss around the teeth that could result in tooth loss.
Another factor that attributes to healthy gum tissue is diet. Proper nutrition is key for gum health as it helps the body fight infections. Many cases of gum disease can be avoided with good diet and by avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking. The healthier your diet, the healthier your teeth will be. Eat foods rich in calcium and avoid eating sweets.
Brush your teeth thoroughly every 12 hours or twice a day. After snacking rinse with an appropriate mouthwash to help remove any food and trapped between your teeth and gums. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and remember to replace it every three to four months. Flossing is also essential for good oral hygiene as it helps remove plaque and food stuck in between your teeth, which can cause damage over time.
A straight bright smile is just a small part of your oral health as gum treatment often goes neglected. Gum disease typically goes unnoticed as it is usually painless, so most people aren’t even aware of issues until they become more advanced. If you have gum disease already it is important not to aggravate your gums further by brushing too hard, remember, thorough cleaning doesn’t require very hard brushing.
Keeping Teeth and Gums Healthy for Adults and Children
Increased awareness of oral health is much more important now than ever before, especially for adults with children. Children’s oral health habits often stem from their parents, modelling the same routines and behaviour such as skipping a brush in the morning or snacking through the day. Prioritising your own oral health will ensure your child’s future oral care habits. Just brushing won’t cut it anymore. A proper oral hygiene routine will drastically reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay:
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day
- Floss at least once a day
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks
- Maintain regular visits to your dentist for routine 6-month check-ups
With the pandemic ongoing, one’s tooth or gum issues may often multiply because too much time has gone by in between dental visits. If you’re suffering from tooth pain or have skipped your regular routine maintenance schedule, make an appointment with one of our dentists today to ensure that the pain doesn’t exacerbate into a more advanced tooth condition. Prevention will keep tooth decay at bay and early gum disease and gingivitis treatment will help the conditions from advancing into a more serious condition.
Ensuring Your Visit Is COVID-Safe
Patient safety has always been of utmost concern for dentists. Stringent sterilization and infection control processes are commonplace in dental clinics. At TEETH @ Tiong Bahru, we have implemented additional safety protocols with the advent of COVID-19. Yet, despite existing infection control protocols and increased measures, many patients have pushed off their oral health care beyond the regular 6-month routine check-up period to a year or more between appointments.
The main takeaway to remember is the next time you get a toothache or require periodontal treatment, make an appointment with TEETH @ Tiong Bahru to get it checked out early!