In puppies and people, bacteria can cause not only bad breath but also teeth and gum problems. Good dental hygiene and regular check-ups starting from a young age are excellent tools for preventing problems, says Nanaimo dentist Dr. Rob Wolanski, from Lakeside Dental Clinic, here with new puppy Juno.

Smile! You can win the battle for healthy teeth

Common dental problems simplified and explained

“This morning, as I held my new puppy Juno, she licked my face, and I was greeted with fresh puppy breath – that sweet smell of a healthy mouth that’s clean and has yet to develop any bacteria or plaque. Bacteria typically causes bad breath in dogs,” says Nanaimo’s Dr. Rob Wolanski, from Lakeside Dental Clinic. “Same goes for humans.”

By and large, 90 per cent of dental problems are caused by bacteria or excessive bite force.

Botox to ease excessive bite force

Excessive bite force is caused when people clench or grind their teeth. In the past, standard treatment involved making the patient a custom brux / grinding guard which helps to protect the teeth.

However, these guards are bulky, not fun to wear and half of patients don’t wear them regularly, says Dr. Wolanski.

“Today, there’s another solution available: therapeutic Botox. This treatment can reduce the force the muscles bite with, protecting the teeth and in cases of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD), Botox injections can reduce the associated pain and headaches.”

Bacteria and gum disease

Most dental problems are caused by bacteria, including damage caused to the gums surrounding the teeth and damage to the teeth themselves.

Tissue surrounding the teeth includes the soft gums and the bone. “Bacteria that hide along the gum line or in tartar that builds up on teeth attack those surrounding tissues, causing inflammation typically seen as bleeding,” Dr. Wolanski explains. “As this continues, it can melt the bone around the teeth causing root exposure and pockets where more bacteria can hide. This in turn leads to the loosening and eventual loss of teeth.

“It’s a lot like a tree that has all the soil washed away from the roots then falls over.”

If bite forces are high, as mentioned above, this process becomes accelerated.

“Some people are more susceptible to gum disease because of the chemistry of their saliva or the effects of medications,” Dr. Wolanski says, but adds that good dental hygiene is the most important treatment, including regular cleaning and check-ups starting from a very young age. “Gum disease is almost 100 per cent preventable if preventative therapies are started early in life. Most of the severe cases of periodontal disease are of patients that have not seen a dentist for many years.”

Bacteria and tooth decay

This leads us to the last major category of damage caused by bacteria: tooth decay (dental caries). When dental caries become large enough we call them cavities. It’s a process of softening of the enamel and/or dentin (root) of the tooth.

Once soft, bacteria can live inside the soft tooth structure and continue the decaying process. The bacteria can then invade the hollow chamber inside the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels, leading to pain and even an abscess.

“If decay is caught early enough a simple filling can stop the processes. If left too long, the tooth will require a root canal to stop the infection and save the tooth.”

Learn more about your teeth and common concerns in coming features, or contact Nanaimo’s Lakeside Dental Clinic today at 250-756-1300 or book an appointment online at lakesidedentalclinic.ca

Comments are closed

Just Posted

UPDATE: Senior found after search of north Nanaimo-Lantzville area

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush by search and rescue canine team

UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP locate woman who didn’t return from trip

Nanaimo RCMP report Rachelle Dawn Walton, reported missing July 23, has been found

Hearings begin as Vancouver Island mom fights for allegedly abducted daughter

Tasha Brown now in Jersey in the British Isles, fundraiser being held in Nanaimo

Swollen Members rapper Madchild to perform at the Queen’s

Rapper’s new album ‘Demons’ reflects on his struggles with drug addiction

Another section of Bruce Avenue closing for construction

New curbs, gutters, lighting installation will detour traffic to Howard Avenue for three weeks

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

UPDATED: V.I. Raiders earn first win of the season

Raiders blow out Kamloops Broncos in home opener in Nanaimo

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Most Read