Oral hygiene Periodontitis Surgery

Lithuanians pay more attention to dental health than they did twenty or thirty years ago, but Lithuania still remains one of the highest positions in Europe for poor oral condition. According to research data, nearly half of the adult population does not have at least one tooth, and about a third of all adults are missing more than six teeth.

According to Dr. Šarūnas Paškevičius of the Vilnius dental SDC clinic, the main reasons for tooth loss are cavities, periodontitis, and various systemic diseases causing degeneration of the jawbone.

If teeth are not cared for properly, cavities quickly develop. It is the erosion of hard tooth tissues caused by acids produced by microflora in dental plaque. Initially, cavities damage tooth enamel, then penetrate into the dentin, pulp, and later the root canal. If left untreated, the infection begins to destroy the jawbone around the root. Once this stage is reached, treatment becomes complicated, and there is a risk of losing the tooth.

“The sooner a patient starts treatment, the cheaper it will be, and the prognosis will be better: if a cavity is detected early, it would be enough to fill the tooth, if it reaches the root canal, a much more expensive canal treatment will be required. Losing a tooth and wanting to restore it with a prosthetic or an implant can cost several or even tens of thousands of euros,” said the doctor.

The primary cause of cavities is poor oral care. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day – in the morning after waking up and in the evening after the last meal. This should be done with gentle circular movements for no less than two minutes (recommended by various dental societies and the World Health Organization). Clean all tooth surfaces, both external and internal. Choose a denser and softer toothbrush. Do not forget the interdental spaces, for which, according to the doctor, there are various tools available.

“Many patients brush their teeth too briefly – a few seconds are not enough, they don’t clean all surfaces or ignore the spaces between teeth,” said Dr. Paškevičius, noting that especially proper dental care tends to be forgotten during vacations.

However, according to him, the younger generation takes better care of their teeth than the seniors. “Education is beginning to yield results. It’s great that many young parents start caring for their children’s teeth before any problems arise. Habits formed in childhood last a lifetime. More and more older people also ask about proper dental care – often they have had unpleasant experiences with their teeth and want to avoid it in the future,” said the speaker.

He was pleased that schools are regularly visited by public health center workers who tell students about proper dental care. According to him, such lectures would also be needed for adults.

Many patients ask the doctor about the new ultrasonic toothbrush on the market. “My opinion is positive. With it, you can clean your teeth faster and more effectively than with a regular brush, but the same result can be achieved with a standard brush, it just requires more time and thoroughness,” warned the specialist.

Although the choice of various means is increasing, natural dental care products are also becoming popular. The specialist is skeptical about them. For instance, many choose a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one, and some replace regular toothpaste with a homemade one made from baking soda and coconut oil. “A bamboo brush often has fewer bristles than a plastic one, so it doesn’t clean as effectively, and it is more prone to bacteria. Meanwhile, the particles of baking soda in homemade toothpaste are too abrasive, can damage tooth enamel, and there are no substances in homemade toothpaste that protect and restore tooth enamel,” warned the dentist.

The doctor also reminded that, even with meticulous dental care, professional oral hygiene should be performed at least once a year.

Periodontitis is a disease during which tissues surrounding the tooth are affected: gums, periodontal ligaments, and the alveolar bone. At the onset of the disease, gums become red and painful, as it progresses, they bleed, form pus, there’s bad breath, tooth roots are exposed, they become loose and eventually fall out.

The most significant influence on periodontitis is also improper oral care. However, the disease can also be caused by poorly performed treatment – badly placed fillings, prosthetics, as well as certain genetic or hormonal disorders, systemic diseases. Although periodontitis often affects seniors, it can affect people of all ages.

Both the increased risk of cavities and periodontitis can also be caused by improper bite. “If the teeth are crowded, it will be difficult to clean between them – deposits will accumulate there over time, leading to cavities and periodontitis. Dentists recommend treating the bite with braces or other orthodontic devices not because they want to “make money,” but because having a proper bite makes it much easier to care for the teeth and protect them from diseases. An improper bite can also lead to premature tooth wear and temporomandibular joint disorders,” said the doctor.

Another cause of tooth loss is various systemic diseases. For example, diabetes can cause inflammation of the oral mucosa, dry mouth, making it easier for bacteria to multiply. Osteoporosis, in turn, affects the jawbone, leading to tooth loss. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause can make teeth more prone to cavities. “The most dangerous diseases are tumors – they destroy not only teeth but also the jawbone, can be fatal. Therefore, if you have found even a small change in the mouth, it is essential to see a dentist. A quick reaction can save not only the teeth but also life,” emphasized Dr. Paškevičius.

Every patient’s situation is individual; the specialist evaluates the patient’s condition and selects appropriate treatment methods. However, according to the doctor, the best prevention is proper oral care, a healthy lifestyle, and regular visits to the dentist.

Don’t ignore toothaches or any other oral health problems. Do not delay the visit to the dentist. The sooner you start treatment, the better the prognosis.