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Section Questions and Answers

Preventive Dentistry - Tooth and Gum Care

  1. How can tooth decay and gum disease be prevented?
  2. Why is plaque control essential to the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease?
  3. Why is correct diet important to the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease?
  4. What makes fluoride a valuable weapon against tooth decay?
  5. What are fissure sealants?

"...both caries and periodontal disease can be prevented by daily oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing..."
"Professional care for removal of plaque and calculus deposits has also been demonstrated to improve periodontal health."
- U.S. Surgeon General's Report

 
1. How can tooth decay and gum disease be prevented?

  • Dental decay and gum disease are both preventable.
  • There are four main weapons in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease:

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2. Why is plaque control essential to the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease?

  • The bacteria in plaque are able to convert dietary sugars into acids which cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  • It is therefore essential that plaque should be removed regularly if decay and gum disease are to be prevented.

See Oral Hygiene

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3. Why is correct diet important to the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease?

  • Too much sugar in the diet, and dental plaque on the teeth, are the main causes of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • It is important to cut down the amount of sugar consumed, and to eat a generally balanced and healthy diet.

See Diet and Decay

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4. What makes fluoride a valuable weapon against tooth decay?

  • Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to mouth acids.
  • It can also reverse the effects of decay in its early stages.

See Fluoride

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5. What are fissure sealants?

  • Fissure sealants are plastic coatings applied and then bonded to areas of the teeth.
  • The areas which are most vulnerable to decay are the pits, grooves or fissures on the chewing surfaces of premolar and molar teeth.
  • The sealant prevents plaque from forming in these areas.
  • The sealant must be bonded to the tooth soon after it has erupted.

See Fissure Sealants

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