National Dental Care Month: Using Preventative Dentistry to Protect Your Smile
May is National Dental Care month. One of the best ways to care for your smile is by taking part in preventative dentistry. Preventative dentistry, like national dental care month, is here to help you learn and take the steps necessary to protect the integrity of your smile.
What is Preventative Dentistry?
Preventative dentistry is a realm of dental care that centers around helping patients maintain good oral health. It is used in conjunction with regular dental checkups and proper at-home dental hygiene to keep your teeth healthy from childhood through the rest of your life.
Preventative Dentistry at Home
For the most part, preventative dental care starts with how well you care for your smile at home. When you practice good oral health habits at home you reduce your risk for a number of common dental ailments that are easily preventable. The basics of preventative dentistry at home include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day, morning and night, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you’re not sure what toothpaste to use, your dentist can recommend a brush for you and can also show you proper brushing technique.
- Flossing daily to get food that’s stuck between the teeth before it turns to plaque.
- Using a mouthwash to rinse out food particles after flossing.
- Avoid acidic foods that can harm tooth enamel.
- Be careful with eating hard food like candies, or food with bones, seeds or pits that could damage or chip teeth.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. These products can lead to cancer and other dental problems.
- Use a mouthguard when playing sports.
- Wearing a nighttime mouth guard if you grind your teeth at night to reduce gum recession.
Professional Preventative Dentistry
In addition to the care you take at home, your dentist is your best resource for preventative dentistry. At the dentist office, a number of different procedures can be included within preventative dental care. First, protecting your smile includes getting professional cleanings to help remove plaque and tartar from the teeth that can lead to cavities, gum disease, and further health issues. Additionally, preventative care includes oral exams, X-rays, and cancer screenings, too.
Preventative Care for Children
Just like adults need preventative dentistry, children do too. In fact, it’s highly recommended for kids. This begins with early exams and cleaning before bacteria can even accumulate to help them maintain healthy dental health for life. In children, preventive care includes:
- Fluoride treatments: these treatments help strengthen the tooth enamel during the years when children are more susceptible to cavities.
- Sealants: dental sealants help protect the molars (the back teeth). Sealants are painted onto the top surface of the teeth to prevent decay. When sealants are applied on the molars when they first come in, they can prevent cavities for life, reducing cavities by nearly 80% in the molars.
- Orthodontic care: as their adult teeth come in, children may need orthodontics to correct or prevent misalignment.
Benefits of Preventative Dentistry
Prioritizing dental care before problems arise can offer a variety of benefits for your oral health. Benefits of preventative care include:
- Lowering your risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and more serious dental problems.
- Helps promote good oral hygiene habits, like brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing.
- Early identification of dental problems that can help you minimize treatment and cost.
- Enables your dentist to do a full exam of your mouth, jaw, neck, and more to identify any problems.
- Helps reduce dental problems related to chronic medical conditions. Diabetes, osteoporosis, certain cancers, and eating disorders can all have an effect on your dental health. For people with these conditions, regular dental care is an important part of protecting their overall health.
Certain conditions, like high cholesterol and diabetes, along with certain medications can affect dental health. Further, research has found that people with certain oral health problems, like gum disease, are at an increased risk for cardiovascular issues like stroke or heart attack. This is why an important aspect of preventative care is letting your dentist know of your complete health history so that you can be properly monitored and treated.
Make an Appointment with Dr. Ania
We pride ourselves in customizing every aspect of your dental care. From your cleanings to your exam, our team will spend a lot of time educating you about your gum health and how to best maintain a healthy smile for years to come. To make an appointment, contact us here or by calling us at (303)-872-9940.