Everyone at some point faces dental problems. Even if someone has the best set of teeth and takes the utmost care at times they too face some tooth ache. And if this tooth starts to ache in the middle of the night when we can’t possibly have access to a dentist then it gets even more annoying. Many of us wonder why a thing as simple as a tooth ache causes so much trouble.

There is also a tendency to avoid seeing a dentist and instead pop painkillers to deal with the pain temporarily till we finally reach a stage when it becomes way too much. Only if it is an unbearable situation do we actually make an effort to book an appointment. Any kind of toothache, if it lasts for more than a few days should be checked by a dentist as soon as possible so that potential problems can be avoided in the future.

On today’s show I had the pleasure of talking to a very experienced dentist Dr Gurdip Khambey and the first thing that I asked her was what causes toothache. She said that tooth ache is the product of having too much sugar in the diet. If someone tends to take in too much in the frequency of sugar intake than the amount of sugar intake then they have a higher chance of getting tooth ache. If someone take 10 teaspoons of sugar in one cup of tea and then doesn’t take any more sugar in the day then his teeth will be slightly less prone to decay that a person who has 10 or 20 cups of tea with 1 teaspoon of sugar in each. So it’s the frequency that might increase the risk of decay. The bacteria in the mouth usually ferment the sugar that we eat and produce acid in the mouth and this acid can cause decay said Dr Gurdip. This decay eventually penetrates the inner part of the tooth causing ache.

She also said that there are many factors along with the sugar intake that affect the teeth, for example the amount of saliva in the mouth. When someone is on medication the amount of saliva secreted in the mouth might be very less and thus it is unable to buffer the acid that’s produced. She stressed that brushing the teeth properly is also an equally important factor.

Dr Gurdip said that most people concentrate on brushing their teeth properly but tend to neglect their gums. The junction of the teeth and the gums is where the plaque gets built up and it’s very important that this area is cleaned properly. If not, there is a built up of plaque which can increase the chances of decay and also cause bleeding in the gums

Mostly people tend to go to the dentist when the pain becomes unbearable and at that point the chances are that the tooth has decayed up to the innermost part. When this happens Dr Gurdip said that a painful root canal treatment is usually the only solution available. But if we were to visit the dentist immediately after the tooth starts aching then there are chances that just a simple filling would be enough. Also she said that many times dentist recommend getting the teeth cleaned and that is to be able to remove the plaque that might have already been built up.

Many people now a days wish for white teeth, as seen in most television advertisements and some of them undergo treatment to get their teeth whitened. But sometimes after the treatment people tend to experience sensitivity. Dr Gurdip said that this sensitivity might last for a maximum 24 to 48 hrs. When this treatment is done it’s like dehydration of the enamel, when it dehydrates it gives a very chalky appearance and when it rehydrates it will regress a little bit. She said that the sensitivity is because you are putting something strong on and it’s the pulp that becomes sensitive, which eventually goes away according to Dr Gurdip.

Another very common problem that people face is with wisdom teeth. Some people prefer getting it extracted sooner rather than later so as to avoid any problems in the future. Dr Gurdip said that in this country NICE guidelines are followed so if there is pathology in the teeth like decay, repeated infections or any other dental problems only then there is a reason to take out the wisdom teeth. She said that after the wisdom tooth is removed there is not much drifting of the teeth. But teeth are suspended in the ligaments and they are not fixed in the bone so there is a chance that drifting might happen, if for example the 1st molar is extracted.

She recommends

  • Brushing twice
  • Brushing for a duration of 3 to 4 minutes
  • Using logic – starting from one end of the mouth and slowly moving to the other side by following a sequence

If when spitting out there is blood then you will know which section is bleeding if you sequence and can realise how much to brush in that area.

  • It’s important to floss.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste

It was a pleasure talking to Dr Gurdip and learning about dental care.