What is a tooth?
Teeth consist of a crown and root, which are formed by three structures; enamel, dentine, and pulp.
- Enamel covers the crown and is the hardest tissue in the body
- Dentine is the major part of the tooth
- Pulp contains nerves and blood vessels
The root of each tooth is attached to the jaw bone. The bone is covered by soft gum tissue, which forms a cuff around the neck of the tooth.
What are Interdental spaces?
Interdental spaces are the areas between the teeth.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the tooth surface. Plaque is responsible for the two most common oral diseases; tooth decay and gum disease.
The mouth contains millions of bacteria; they stick to the surface of your teeth and quickly multiply to form plaque.
What is tartar?
Tartar (calculus) is formed when calcium in the saliva combine with plaque to make it hard. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist.
Regular, effective plaque removal is the best way to prevent build-up of tartar.
What is periodontal disease?
The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis and is reversible. If not treated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is characterised by inflammation of the tissues supporting the teeth. If plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, periodontal disease develops.
What are the signs of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease may go unnoticed until it is quite advanced. However, most people will notice some of the following signs:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Bad taste
- Teeth drifting apart
- Loose teeth
A classic sign of gingivitis is when gums bleed during brushing and this is often the first indication of periodontal disease.
Can gingivitis be treated?
Yes. Gingivitis can be treated relatively easily with very good results.
Your dentist or hygienist will ensure your teeth are free from tartar and show you how to clean your teeth properly.
After treatment, thorough cleaning twice a day will ensure that your gums will stay firm and healthy.
Can periodontitis be treated?
Yes. Treatment will depend on how far the damage to the supporting tissues has gone.
Your dentist or hygienist will remove any deposits such as tartar (calculus) or plaque, from pockets around affected teeth.
Can gingivitis and periodontitis recur?
Yes. If you go back to your old teeth cleaning habits the problem can return. That is why it is important that you brush your teeth thoroughly twice daily using toothbrush and floss. Your dental professional will advise you on which toothbrush and toothpaste to use.
Interdental cleaning requires specific tools
In addition to regular tooth brushing dental professionals may recommend aids such as floss or interdental toothbrushes for cleaning the spaces between teeth.
Floss is most effective for narrow interdental spaces. It will be more suitable for younger people who have narrower interdental spaces.
Interdental brushes allow thorough cleaning of interdental spaces. They can clean efficiently between the teeth and are adapted for wider spaces, which make them suitable for older people.
Smile with confidence!
A smile can tell a lot about your personality, mood, and honesty. But most noticeably, your oral health.
Everyday care routines are essential for maintaining good oral health. A proper toothbrush and the right toothpaste are the basic tools you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy for life.
This leaflet gives you an easy-to-understand insight into the workings of your teeth and how you, together with your dental professional, can help maintain healthy teeth and gums.