Parents usually do their best to teach their children the basics of keeping their teeth clean to avoid cavities. However, there is a lot more to keeping your teeth and mouth healthy than just brushing your teeth at night before you go to bed. The more you know about your teeth and what causes tooth decay and gum disease, the better chance you have of having a healthy mouth, not to mention preventing costs of expensive tooth repair. So let’s see how much you know about dental hygiene. Test your knowledge by taking the quiz below.
Can You Pass This Oral Hygiene Quiz?
- What do you call the layer of the tooth under the enamel?
- Which is worse for causing cavities, a chocolate bar or potato chips?
- How many types of bacteria are there in a mouth?
- How many stages are there to gum disease?
- Are people with diabetes at a higher risk for gum disease?
- Can gum disease affect a diabetic condition?
- As long as I brush my teeth at night before I go to bed I shouldn’t get cavities, right?
- Are vitamins really important to your gum health?
- At what age group are people more likely to get gum disease?
- Can a person always tell if they have gum disease?
Here are your answers (don’t look, until you’ve answered the quiz!):
- Dentin is the layer of the tooth under the enamel. If decay is able to progress its way through the enamel, it next attacks the dentin — where millions of tiny tubes lead directly to the dental pulp.
- Potato chips. While neither candy bars nor potato chips are great for health, potato chips are more likely to stick to your teeth than chocolate candy bar so there is more chance of causing tooth decay.
- Plaque contains millions of bacteria, made up of 200 to 300 different species! But the worst of these is Streptococcus mutans, which converts sugar and other carbohydrates into the acids that eat away at your teeth.
- There are three stages to gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis: an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup at the gum line. You may notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.
Periodontitis: at this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place are damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gum line, which traps food and plaque. Proper dental treatment and improved home care can usually help prevent further damage.
Advanced Periodontitis: in this final stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and, if aggressive treatment can’t save them, teeth may need to be removed.
- Yes. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting gum disease. The reason for this is related to how diabetes affects the blood vessels. Blood vessels carry oxygen to the tissues of the body and then carries away waste products. Diabetes causes the blood vessels to thicken which slows the process of carrying oxygen to the tissue as well as slows the ability to dispose of waste. This can weaken gum and bone tissue and make it more susceptible to disease.
- Yes. High blood glucose levels can cause gum disease to worsen. When diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose levels in the mouth can help bacteria to grow because bacteria thrive on sugars, including glucose.
- Wrong. While brushing your teeth at night is a good idea to remove any food from your mouth that can cause more plaque to form while you sleep, it is best to brush any time after you eat. The longer food is in your mouth, no matter what time of day, the more chance there is of plaque building.
- Yes. Proper nutrition is vital for keeping your body healthy. While we don’t hear much anymore of the Scurvy disease from severe lack of Vitamin C, bleeding gums can still be a symptom of a deficiency of Vitamin C and also a symptom of deficiency of Vitamin D.
- Gum disease can start at any age. Even young children who are suffering from diabetes can be prone to gum disease. Gum disease has been more prevalent when people reach their 30’s and 40’s and the chance of getting gum disease increases as years progress.
- Not always. See below.
Symptoms of gum disease to watch for:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth.
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing.
- Receding gums.
- Sores in your mouth.
- Persistent bad breath.
Consult your dentist if you see any symptoms or experience any changes you are not sure of. The safest bet is to keep regular appointments with your dentist and hygienist.
Your smile is important to us. This is why we make education our number one priority here at Christensen Dental in Henderson, Nevada.
Dr. Tyler M. Christensen, DDS