Often times it can appear as though there exist too many problems with teeth that are impossible to avoid. The reality is that most of these are minor issues that are easily treated and can be avoided with proper oral hygiene care. Two of the most common issues we see with patients are inflammation of the gum line and cavities. But out of these two common ailments, which can be considered the lesser of two evils?
Bacteria excel at forming biofilms, a tight matrix of saccharides, given the correct environmental conditions. Unfortunately for us, our teeth are warm and filled with potential food sources, making them the perfect place for bacteria to call home. When biofilms form on tooth surfaces, it’s known as dental plaque. Simple sugars found in everyday foods is one of bacteria’s favourite energy sources, and is readily available throughout the day in the mouth of a constant snacker. As a byproduct of digesting these sugars, bacteria secrete acids that can damage tooth enamel, eventually causing a small hole to form, known as a cavity or dental carie. If left untreated, this hole can become wider and put you at risk for infection, tooth aches, and other complications.
Dental plaque is relatively soft and can be mostly removed with daily brushing. If dental plaque is left untreated, it can harden into tartar, which is resistant to the average toothbrush and must be scraped off by a dental hygienist. Bacteria can then go on to infect your gum line, eventually reaching the layers of bone and connective tissue that lie underneath. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, can be very serious and lead to severe health problems down the line. Sometimes, a root canal or tooth extraction is required, which is not a pleasant experience for anyone involved.
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t want to deal with either of these diseases. However, cavities stand out as being the most readily detected problem. A toothache or quick scan by the dentist will immediately reveal any cavities, which are easily treated if caught in their early stages. Gum disease is a much more silent but deadly problem. It can creep up on you and not show symptoms until you’re already in its advanced stages. Moreover, weak gums put you at risk for tooth loss no matter how healthy your teeth are.
What’s the best solution? Go visit your dentist! They can screen you for early signs of gum disease and go over healthy oral hygiene practices to ensure that your gums remain healthy. Centennial Smiles Dental is more than happy to meet with you! You can reach us at (587) 317-7959, or fill out a form on our website today!