Caries prevention is very important and should be implemented already during pregnancy. In the fourth month of fetal life, mineralization of primary teeth begins, and in the second half of pregnancy – permanent teeth.
The disease suffered by a pregnant woman significantly affects the condition of the child’s dental organ, and her digestive errors, especially the deficiency in the diet of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, micronutrients and vitamins, are very important for the formation of tooth buds, tooth growth and subsequent susceptibility to caries.
During pregnancy, a proper diet is very important, containing the right amount of protein and limiting the amount of carbohydrates and providing the body with food rich in vitamins.
After the baby is born, especially until the mineralization of the hard dental tissues is complete, nutrition is also essential. For an infant, the most important thing is to nourish it with mother’s milk, which is a complete food during the formation of teeth. Later, the quality of meals must be varied and adapted to the needs of the growing organism.
Prevention is equally important in children, even over the age of 16, with a fully formed permanent dentition. It is recommended that:
- consuming dairy products and vegetables,
- chewing hard, fibrous and granular foods that force you to chew and clean your teeth at the same time,
- restriction of eating sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time (toffee, hard candy, lollipops) in the breaks between meals and before going to bed after the evening teeth cleaning.
- Oral hygiene
- In order to prevent tooth decay, proper oral hygiene is important, which should consist in systematic and thorough tooth cleaning. Teeth brushing should begin at the age of 2-3 years. You should brush your teeth in the morning, evening and, if possible, after each meal. The brush, kept clean, should be changed every 3-4 months.
A new brush should be washed with warm boiled water before use. However, after use, the brush should be thoroughly rinsed under a strong stream of running lukewarm water, set the bristles vertically upwards to make it easier to dry. Teeth are brushed for an average of 2-3 minutes each time.
The size of the brush should be adapted to the size of the oral cavity, so children’s brushes must be appropriately smaller. The brushes are made of synthetic material. The bristle bundles should be loose, preferably 2-3 rows of bristles in 6-8 rows. The bristles of the toothbrush must be soft and relatively flexible, not too thick, with rounded ends.
With wide interdental spaces, you can use special small interdental, bundle or spiral brushes. Electric brushes also massage the gums thanks to their vibrations. They are especially recommended for people with manual disability. Currently, manufacturers advertise “more and more perfect” brushes. There are also special-purpose brushes, e.g. for people with implants.
The choice of brushing method is not neutral. Usually, people who do not receive proper instructions brush their teeth crosswise. These movements are not recommended, as there is a possibility of damaging the teeth and the gingival margin, as well as exposing the tooth roots. Children are especially recommended to brush with vertical-circular movements.
For adults, the best method of brushing is the so-called sweeping method . Then the toothbrush in the jaw is set at an angle of 45 degrees, with the bristles up, in the jaw – with the bristles down. The brush is placed on the tooth crowns right next to the gums in such a way that the bristles enter the interdental space. The sweeping motion moves the brush along the crowns of the teeth to their edge. The brush should adhere to the entire surface of the tooth being cleaned and all tooth surfaces should be cleaned.
Dental floss and toothpicks
Dental floss varies in thickness and types, most often silk waxed or unwaxed, containing fluorine and impregnated with fragrances. Sawing movements are used to guide the thread at the point where the teeth meet in the interdental space up to the gingival margin. Dental floss can be used by children from the age of 10.
The task of dental floss is to remove soft plaque deposits that accumulate in the interdental spaces. Dental floss is purchased in special packages that ensure proper hygiene and convenient access.
The interdental spaces can also be cleaned with toothpicks , also called interdental sticks. The best are with a triangular cross-section, wooden or plastic.
Various types of rinses can also be used to clean the teeth . There are rinses on the market with only prophylactic effects, others also therapeutic. Acting mechanically, they rinse out food residues, soft deposits, and also numerous microorganisms. Most often, plant preparations or antiseptics are added to the rinses.
Gum for life
Currently, chewing gums are often advertised to help maintain proper oral hygiene and thus prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum stimulates the secretion of saliva, thus its flow is increased, which increases the cleaning of the teeth from food debris. The addition of fluorine compounds to the gum has an additional anti-caries effect and increases the remineralization of the enamel.
However, it is important to remember that chewing gum after eating should last about 15-30 minutes. Long-term chewing can lead to unfavorable changes in the temporomandibular joint.
Sealing of furrows and varnishing of teeth
- Fissure sealing is the process of filling grooves and cavities in the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars, as soon as possible after eruption with fissure varnishes containing fluorine compounds.
- Teeth varnishing: Dental varnishes are used for short-term coverage of smooth tooth surfaces. Due to the content of fulor in them, the enamel is enriched with fluorine, which increases the resistance to caries. It is assumed that it is enough to cover the teeth with them twice a year.
- In order to prevent the development of caries, the dentition should be checked every 6 months.