Saliva contains millions of bacteria, these bacteria stick to the surfaces of our teeth. If this bacteria is not removed regularly by brushing teeth, it causes tooth decay and gum disease. What does plaque look like?

Plaque is a colourless soft film, which is difficult to see until the coating of the film gets quite thick. It collects on the surfaces of teeth mainly around the base of the gums and between the teeth

Brush your front and back teeth carefully to prevent build up of plaque. Use dental floss to clean between your teeth where toothbrush bristles do not reach.

Tartar (calculus) is formed by substances in the saliva such as calcium together with plaque. Tartar is settles commonly behind the lower front teeth. Once tartar is formed, only the dentist or the dental hygienist will be able to remove it.

Peridontitis is the result of long standing gingivitis. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.

Brushing Teeth

Place the bristles of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, where the teeth and gums meet. Then move the toothbrush back and forth using small, gentle movements to remove plaque from the gum region where it collects. Hold the toothbrush with a light touch, so that you do not brush too hard. Use a finger grip. Do not rush. Make time to clean every tooth surface and make sure you do not miss anywhere.

Fluoride Power

You should always use a fluoride toothpaste as fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to acid attacks. This in turn helps to prevent tooth decay. Brushing your teeth combats plaque which builds up daily on the teeth. Removing plaque not only makes your teeth feel clean, but also helps to prevent bleeding gums and makes your breath fresher too!

How often?

Try to brush in the morning and last thing at night. In the morning, this will make your mouth feel clean and fresh. At night, brushing is especially important as it protects teeth against acid attack while you are asleep.

Root Canal Treatment, (also called Endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury.

If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth, which may eventually lead to an abscess. If Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.

A bridge is a fixed dental repair used to replace one or more missing teeth by joining an artificial tooth to nearby teeth or also known a dental implants.

The crown is the visible part of the tooth. An artificial crown covers a weak tooth above the gum line and protects it. They are made up of metal or porcelain, or just porcelain with metal bits mixed in to increase the strength.

A veneer is a thin layer of tooth coloured material that is put in front of your tooth to make it look better. The tooth might have been damaged by decay of an accident, or be discoloured.

Fissures are groves in the chewing surfaces in the back teeth. They are difficult to keep clean and therefore at more risk of decay but they can be sealed with a tough plastic to protect them. The plastic is liquid at first but then it sets hard once dried. They may be see-through or dyed to the colour of the tooth. The sealant is only used on permanent teeth rather than milk teeth.

Fluoride is a mineral that is found all around us in small amounts. It is very effective in protecting teeth against decay.

Public health experts have known for many years that fluoride protects teeth. Some parts of America had natural fluoride in their water and more than 50 years ago, dentists noticed that people living there had strong healthy teeth.

Food and drink are the most common problem in the dental world.

How can I tell what's healthy?

You will not always be able to tell whether a product will harm your teeth.

Milk and water are safe drinks. So are tea and coffee if you do not add sugar to them. Fruit, vegetables, dairy products (such as cheese) and starchy products (such as bread, rice and pasta) are all safe foods.

Remember these rules:

  • Clean your teeth twice a day
  • Don't eat sugary, sticky erosive foods more than five times a day.
  • Eat at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.

During the day when you cannot clean your teeth, think about chewing sugar-free gum. Chewing gum increases flow of saliva around the mouth, helping remove bits of food. Also saliva contains minerals as well as toothpaste containing fluorides that will help mend teeth after they have been attacked by plaque.

What are the benefits?

  • A healthy diet and good oral hygiene should prevent most dental problems.
  • Nutritionists give the same advice as dentists about healthy eating. If you aim to improve dental health you will overall improve the whole bodies' health.

This is where a painful infection (an abscess) has developed in the surrounding bone at the end of the root of a tooth. The dentist cleans the infected area to save the tooth, and is usually carried out on a tooth which has already been root-filled.

Bad breath can be caused by gum disease, but even with good oral hygiene and healthy teeth, you could still have bad breath. It is the bacteria in the mouth which usually causes bad breath and is not a sign of general ill health. As your mouth gets drier, the smell usually gets stronger and comes from the far back of the tongue. Sometimes the smell comes from the nose. Around a quarter of adults suffer from bad breath regularly and almost all adults will occasionally suffer from it.