At first, the tooth may be merely sensitive to hold and cold substances in the mouth and also to pressure from biting. Later, as abscess forms at the base of the tooth, the pain becomes severe. It may be sharp, throbbing, shooting or constant. If the tooth is not properly treated, it will eventually have to be extracted.
The treatment of dental caries consists of the removal of decayed regions of the tooth and filling the cavities. If the cavities have reached the pulp, it may become necessary to extract the affected tooth.
Proper cleaning is the most important step towards healthy and sparkling teeth. Ideally, teeth should be cleaned after every meal, but one thorough cleansing each day will be far better than any number of hurried brushing. A quick brushing is a waste of time. The teeth may appear clean, but they will still be coated with a layer of plaque, a sticky, transparent substance. It is invisible, but it can be felt as a fuzzy coating on the teeth. It is this substance which leads to decay. In fact, even with a normal brushing, one can still miss removing as much as 80 per cent of the plaque.
There are many theories on how best to clean the teeth. The consensus of dental opinion, however, seems to back using a circular motion with the brush, so as to ensure that all dental surfaces are cleaned. The child should not be afraid to touch the gums with the brush, as this gentle stimulation improves the blood circulation in the gums.
Toothpaste is not in fact essential for the removal of plaque, although most people prefer to use it. It does helps to keep the mouth fresh. The fluoride, which is now being added to an increasing number of pastes, also helps to strengthen the outer enamel and this renders it less susceptible to decay.
The mineral fluorine is essential for tooth-building. Studies on dental caries in human beings have shown that the incidence is high in areas where the drinking water contains less than 0.5 ppm. fluorine and low in areas where the water contains 1 to 2 ppm. Fluorine. It has further been shown that the addition of 1 ppm. fluorine to drinking water significantly reduces the incidence of dental caries.
Diet plays a vital role in dental health. The condition of the teeth, after they are formed, depends upon the foods one eats. Dental decay, the destruction of the bone around the teeth, and infections of the gums can be prevented with an appropriate diet. In fact, with a proper diet, the teeth and jaw-bones becomes hard and healthier.
All types of sweets and refined foods and all products made from white flour and white sugar should be avoided as fibreless refined foods allow particles to accumulate on the teeth. It is important to ensure that the diet includes plenty of raw vegetables and whole meal bread. Whole foods are ideal. They are good for the teeth. The gums need friction to keep them firm and wholefoods also help remove plaque. They are therefore called ‘detergent foods’ by some dentists. Millet and sesame (til) seeds are especially beneficial. Sesame seeds are extremely rich in calcium.
Onions are considered beneficial in the prevention of tooth decay. Latest researches by Russian doctors have confirmed the bactericidal properties of onion. According to these findings, if a person consumes one raw onion every day by thorough mastication, he will be protected from a host of tooth disorders. The Russian doctor, B.P Tohkin, who has contributed to this research, has expressed the opinion that chewing raw onions for three minutes is sufficient to kill all the germs in the mouth. Toothache is often allayed by placing a small piece of onion on the bad tooth or gum.
Tooth decay can be prevented by regular consumption of apples as they possess a mouth cleansing property. Dr. T.T. Hanks in his books Dental Survey says, Apples have a mouth cleansing property that no other fruit possesses, and taken after meal, they have the same effect as a tooth brush in cleansing the teeth, with the added advantage that the acid content, aside from its nutritive value, is of assistance in promoting the flow of saliva in the mouth, which is also beneficial to the teeth. The acids of the apple also exerts an antiseptic influence upon the germs present in the mouth and teeth when it is thoroughly chewed.
Apples are thus regarded as natural preserves of teeth and should be taken during tooth troubles.
Lemon and lime also promote health teeth and gums, due to their high vitamin C content. They strengthen the gums and teeth and are very effective in preventing and curing acute inflammation of the gum margins. They should therefore form a part of children’s diet.
In preventing tooth decay, what one eats is no doubt important, but equally important is when one eats. Frequent small snacks are very harmful to teeth, as they produce an acid medium in which the bacteria thrive. The number of times one eats sugar is one of the most important factor in determining the rate of decay. For this, reason, it is better to eat sweets at the end of a meal rather than between meals.
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