Preventive Dentistry for Good Oral Health
Taking preventive dentistry steps now by practicing good brushing, cleaning, and oral hygiene habits will save you time and money on restorative care and emergency procedures down the line. It is worth your effort now to keep your teeth and gums healthy by seeing your dentist regularly. This can help you avoid more serious oral health problems as well as more extensive, expensive treatment later in life. We can help you to know what preventative dentistry is and how you can better protect your mouth today.
Preventative Dentistry: What Is It?
Preventative dentistry comprises dental hygiene procedures and oral hygiene habits that are meant to prevent problems such as tooth decay and gum disease from ever occurring. Forms of preventative dentistry include dental cleanings, comprehensive exams, dental x-rays to look for cavities, personal hygiene habits and more. At the dental office you will receive the following preventative dentistry services:
- Comprehensive Exam – This is a biannual exam that closely checks the health of the teeth, gums and the mouth. The American Dental Association states that a comprehensive exam is an “extensive evaluation and the recording of all extraoral, intraoral and soft tissues.” We recommend receiving a comprehensive exam at least every 6 months to monitor your oral health.
- Dental Cleaning – A dental hygienist or Dr. Ania herself will thoroughly clean your teeth. We often use special tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup from each individual tooth on the front and back surfaces. We also floss the teeth thoroughly, clean and polish them with dental power tools and provide you a fluoride treatment to help strengthen your teeth. Our recommendation is to receive biannual dental cleanings unless oral health issues necessitate more frequent cleanings.
- Dental X-Rays – Digital x-rays are the best way to detect the presence of dental caries, also known as cavities. Digital x-rays in modern times now emit up to 90% less radiation than past x-rays and provide us digital formats to view your teeth in just minutes of time. With these images, we can quickly detect and treat cavities before they become severe.
Keeping Your Mouth Healthy
What preventative dentistry measures can you take at home to keep your mouth healthy? Plaque forms from the sugars in the foods you eat. Consuming a balanced diet and one that has fewer sugars is a great place to start when it comes to keeping your oral health great as well as you overall health. The best habits you can form to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is to brush and floss your teeth every single day. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss every day. Flossing works best if you scrape it along the teeth as you do it, removing extra plaque that is stuck on the teeth.
For many patients, fluoride treatments can also help strengthen the teeth and prevent against tooth decay. Fluoride is present in many cities’ water supplies, but fluoride treatments in-office, in toothpastes, and in other forms such as mouthwash can be highly beneficial to keeping strong teeth.
Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel, or the hard outer layer of the teeth. This generally happens over time as a result of plaque attacking the tooth enamel. Plaque is a sticky, acidic substance that forms from the bacteria in the mouth as it mixes with sugars from the food you eat. The more sugar you eat, the more plaque that can form. That’s why it’s so important to brush and floss the teeth often! When plaque is not brushed away frequently, it will erode tooth enamel. With enough erosion, plaque can seep into the soft center of the tooth and decay it. This tooth decay is also known as dental caries, or cavities.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that tooth decay is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in both children and adults. Millions of adults and children have tooth decay even though it is completely and 100% avoidable with proper oral hygiene care. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found alarming percentages of people with tooth decay in every age group:
- Children: 42% in primary teeth. 23% have untreated dental caries.
- Adolescents: 59% have tooth decay in permanent teeth. 20% have untreated tooth decay.
- Adults: 92% in the permanent teeth. 26% have untreated tooth decay.
- Seniors: 93% in the permanent teeth. 18% with untreated decay.
Gum disease is one of the oral health problems you definitely want to avoid. You may know it by the names of gingivitis, periodontitis or periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is marked by red, inflamed and/or swollen gums that bleed easily, especially with flossing. This is your first sign that there may be a problem with your gums. When gingivitis is left untreated, it leads to advanced gum disease, or periodontitis. The way to prevent this from happening is to brush and floss the teeth often, especially along the gumline where the gums tend to become irritated.
When gum disease progresses, the gums recede from the teeth, causing the teeth to eventually fall out. Once one tooth falls out, the structure of the teeth weakens in that area, sometimes causing a domino effect of other teeth falling out. Studies show that around 64.7 million Americans have gum disease even though it is preventable.
Preventative Dentistry for Good Oral Health
Practicing good oral health habits and investing in preventative dentistry (such as dental cleanings and examinations) can help keep your teeth healthy for life. There are always ways to improve oral health. To learn more about what you can do to keep a healthy mouth, contact Dr. Ania’s office at (303) 872-9940 today!