1How often should I visit the dentist?
The visit at the dentist is recommended once or twice a year for frequent preventative check- ups. In that way, any oral pathology is prevented or diagnosed and treated at a very early stage, which is very important for the maintenance of a good oral health in the long term.
2I’m too scared to go to the dentist! Does the dental check-up hurt?
The latest dental methods have achieved minimizing pain so that patients feel very comfortable during any treatment performed. In any case, during the first check-up visit, only an oral examination is performed which is a totally painless and easy procedure for the patient, so that he familiarizes himself with the dental clinic and the dentist. Following the examination, the custom-made treatment plan is discussed with the patient as well as any alternatives so that the whole treatment procedure meets patient’s needs and makes him feel at ease.
3What’s the best age for a child to visit the dentist for the first time?
Children are advised to visit the dentist for the first time after the eruption of the first deciduous (baby) teeth, which is around the age of 6 months. In that way, the normal teeth eruption and jaw formation is monitored, as well as any developmental disorders are diagnosed early.
When children visit the dentist from an early age, they get familiar with the environment of the dental practice and throughout play activities and health education, they are introduced to a preventative programme that aims to maintain the teeth healthy and avoid any future treatments.
4How often should we brush our teeth?
A daily thorough brushing twice a day (in the morning and in the evening) for about 2 minutes each time is enough to prevent the common teeth and gum diseases.
It is recommended to start brushing the teeth straight after the eruption of the first baby tooth, around the age of 6 months. Children under the age of 6 years are advised to brush their teeth under the supervision and help of their parents in order to make sure all areas are brushed sufficiently.
5Do I need to floss as well as brush the teeth? From what age should I start flossing?
Dental floss or interdental brushes are necessary tools of daily oral hygiene as they can reach areas where the toothbrush is unable to get sufficiently (interdental areas). In that way, caries in between the teeth and gum bleeding are prevented.
Interdental cleaning with the use of floss or interdental brushes is recommended to start after the age of 12 years, when children have better hand dexterity.
6Which toothpaste is best to use?
Our daily oral hygiene should always be carried out with a fluoride- containing toothpaste. The toothpaste’s concentration in fluoride depends on our age.
For children aged 6 months- 3 years the fluoride concentration should be 1000ppm and the quantity applied on the toothbrush should be very minimal (smear). For children aged 3-6 years old, a 1000ppm toothpaste is recommended and its quantity on the toothbrush should be that of a pea-size. Children aged 6-12 years old, can use normal adult toothpaste of 1500ppm in a pea-size quantity, whereas after the age of 12 years the toothpaste quantity should be covering in a line the size of the toothbrush.
7Is fluoride safe for our health?
Fluoride is an element contained not only in toothpastes, but also in various foods as well as in the water in some areas around the world. Fluoride is totally safe for our health in the daily quantity we absorb it and is the main and most important measure against tooth decay, therefore a daily oral hygiene with the use of fluoride-containing toothpaste is necessary.
8Do I also need to use a mouthwash in my daily oral hygiene?
There is a number of mouthwashes available that contain different substances and can be used under the dentist’s recommendations and guidelines. In any case, the use of mouthwash does not replace the daily brushing and flossing of the teeth and patients are advised to first contact their dentist before starting using a mouthwash, so that the dentist advises which one fits the purpose, how long it should be used, etc. Children are advised to use fluoride- containing mouthwashes after the age of 6 years for additional prevention against teeth caries.
9What should I do in case of trauma of a front tooth because of an accident?
In case only a small part of the tooth breaks, try to find and keep the broken part and then contact the dentist. In case of a serious accident when the tooth has moved from its original position in the arch or has even fully come out the socket, touch the tooth carefully from its crown and not from its root, slightly rinse it in saline, try to reposition it on its original place and keep it there by biting a gauge or piece of cotton. Then, please contact the dentist for further guidance. If you cannot reposition the tooth, keep it in milk or your saliva and contact the dentist as soon as possible. The early treatment of a traumatized tooth is absolutely necessary in order to maintain the tooth’s health and integrity in the long- term.
10Which foods are bad for our teeth?
The main oral disease linked with our diet is dental caries. Dental caries occurs as a result of bacteria metabolizing carbohydrates contained in our food. Therefore, high consumption of foods in high carbohydrate concentration (sweets, sugar, bread, pasta, rice, etc.) can harm our teeth. In addition, sticky foods are really harmful as it is difficult to be removed from teeth surfaces with the normal chewing and tongue movements.
Besides dental caries, another oral disease that is linked with our diet is enamel erosion, a disease that makes enamel brittle and can cause serious damage on the teeth. Enamel erosion is caused by acids contained in foods such as fruits and citrus fruits in particular, fizzy drinks, energy drinks, therefore their consumption should be carried out with extra care.
11What causes bad breath? How can it be treated?
Oral bad breath (halitosis) is caused by various factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diabetes, dental caries, gum diseases, as well as daily consumption of foods containing spices and herbs. When the bad breath is persistent and does not go after stopping its cause, patients are advised to consult the dentist for further investigation.
A daily oral hygiene prevents the development of bad breath due to oral diseases. In addition, careful tongue brushing is recommended with the toothbrush or tongue cleaners.
12What are aphthous ulcers and why do they happen? How can they be treated?
Aphthous ulcers are usually small ulcers in the oral mucosa which can be painful when in contact with salty or acidic foods and spices. Their cause is not fully identified and a series of factors are thought to be linked with their appearance, such as stress, hormonal disorders, viral or bacterial infections, immunodeficiency, lack of certain vitamins, malnutrition, allergies to foods and medicines as well as genetic factors.
Usually the ulcers do not need any special treatment and disappear within a few days. There are some gels and sprays available that can be used on the ulcer to make them less sore. In addition, a good oral hygiene and nutrition is recommended as well as avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption. You can also rinse with lukewarm chamomile mouthwash for a faster healing of the ulcers. If the ulcers persist for more than 15 days, it is advised to contact the dentist for further investigation.