Oral diseases

Dental problems (caries) and periodontal/gum disease (gingivitis) are most common oral diseases. They are both caused by bacterial plaque.

Where does the plaque come from? | What can be done to avoid dental caries? | Are your gums and teeth healthy? | Problems with your wisdom teeth?

Where does the plaque come from/What is dental plaque?

Dental plaque is formed and thickened when the bacteria/micro-organisms present in the mouth attach to and spread over tooth surfaces, resulting in the formation of a whitish, sticky layer. Bacterial plaque covering tooth surfaces causes inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and leads to the formation of tartar stone. Dental caries develops when the plaque becomes acidic after eating sugar-containing foods (sucrose).

What can be done to avoid dental caries and gingivitis?

Tooth decay and periodontal gum disease can be prevented.


  • Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. Clean the areas between the teeth by using dental floss or tooth-picks
  • Have regular meal and snack times, no more than 5 to 6 times a day. Sugar is especially harmful to the teeth
  • When thirsty - drink water
  • Xylitol reduces tooth decay. Xylitol, obtained from birch, is a natural therapeutic sweetener. Use xylitol chewing gum regularly after meals and snacks and substitute the between-meal sugar with xylitol products
  • In the case of increased risk of caries, home use of fluorides is needed
  • Regular dental check-ups and individualized preventive treatment on the basis of your tendency to develop oral diseases are important. You are welcome to a dental check-up at your Finnish Student Health Service Center

Are your gums and teeth healthy?

Healthy gums are pink and firm. They do not bleed when the teeth are being brushed. Bleeding gums and bad breath are always a sign of inflammation. Regular dental check-ups are important because small cavities are difficult to notice oneself. In the case of deep cavities causing toothache, see a dentist immediately.

Problems with your third molars (wisdom teeth)?

Third molars usually erupt at the age of 18 to 23. Erupting wisdom teeth often cause trouble: in the case of pain, swelling, fever or difficulties to open your mouth, contact a dentist without delay. The treatment most often consists of antibiotics and the removal of the third molar in question. In the case of oral injuries, contact a dentist at the Finnish Student Health Service Center with out delay.

Article made by:
Lauri Turtola, docent, cief dental officer in FSHS