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How to prevent the common dental problems

Most problems in the mouth can be avoided or at least minimised by taking a few simple measures.

Below is a list of the common problems and the steps required to reduce the possibility of their impact.

Remember, regular visits to the dental team at the prescribed intervals will help prevent the onset or worsening of disease. At Coleman & Starkey's, we have a dedicated Oral Health team including 3 hygienists and 1 oral health educators who we may recommend you to visit for disease prevention advice.

Dental decay

Usually caused by a high intake of sugary or acidic foods and drinks. It is a particular problem in those whose cleaning is not up to scratch.

Prevention of tooth decay is about reducing the number of times sugars or acids attack the teeth. Snacking frequently is very bad for the teeth as is constantly drinking fizzy drinks.

Really good tooth cleaning using a fluoride toothpaste at least twice per day is also important.

Gum disease

This can be caused as a result of dirty gums. Some people are more prone to others and there does seem to be a family link.

Thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums using an effective brushing technique is vital. Prevention and treatment of gum disease is the particular role of a dental hygienist.

Smokers have a higher risk of suffering from gum disease.

Tooth wear

Teeth wear away for a number of reasons, most of which are linked simply to the ageing process and cannot really be avoided. However, certain types of wear can be quite aggressive and we see erosion caused by excessive fizzy drink use, abrasion caused by aggressive tooth brushing and attrition caused by teeth grinding. When tooth wear is rapid and destructive, it needs to be monitored carefully.

Once the cause is established, we try to eliminate this but further treatments are sometimes necessary including fillings, crowns or splints.


The front teeth are vulnerable, often the first part of the body that get hit in a trauma situation. Relatively common in kids and young adults, we always recommend a custom-fit gumshield professionally made for contact sports including rugby, hockey, lacrosse and martial arts. Even sports such as football and squash are potentially similar so we are beginning to suggest the use of gumshields in these sports as well.

One of the elements of the Denplan schemes is the insurance cover for all traumatic injuries so membership of these plans may be of benefit to those who partiipate.

Mouth cancer

There about 3000 case per year of oral cancer. Like most cancers, we donít really know the cause, but we do know that smoking significantly increases the risk. Smokers who also drink alcohol regularly are at an even higher risk.

We always encourage our patients to stop smoking. High risk patients are advised to have more regular dental check-ups so that an oral cancer screening is given more often.