Avoid Dental Problems with Preventive Dentistry
Preventive dental care is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining oral health. The common saying “prevention is key” rings true even in the realm of dentistry. One of the main goals of preventative dentistry is to help you avoid and/or reduce the risk of future problems from developing. This includes issues like dental cavities, tooth wear, dental erosion, gum disease, and much more. Preventing oral issues from occurring can also help lower your risk of developing other systemic issues, like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and cancer, which research has suggested are linked to severe gum disease. In addition, poor oral health in pregnant women has been linked to issues including premature birth and low birth weight.
Good oral hygiene practices should start at an early age and continue throughout life. Preventive dentistry involves many factors that should take place at home as well as at your dentist’s office. Take a look at these common preventative measures:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time is a must-do oral health habit. It is recommended to use a soft-bristled to avoid damage to gums. Also, your toothbrush should be replaced approximately every 3-4 months or earlier if the bristles are severely frayed, according to the American Dental Association. It is recommended to use an American Dental Association (ADA) approved fluoride toothpaste. Brushing your tongue is also necessary as bacteria also collects there and will help keep your breath fresh.
- Another essential daily habit is flossing. Flossing is necessary to remove bacterial plaque and food debris from in-between the teeth and under your gumline, where tooth decay frequently occurs.
- Visiting your dentist regularly is crucial to maintaining oral health. Dental exams themselves are preventative measures to detect oral health issues. Dental x-rays, oral cancer screenings, cleanings, and countless other treatments are targeted to help keep your teeth sparkling and healthy. Hardened plaque, also known as tartar or calculus requires removal by dental professionals. You should visit your dentist regularly at the determined intervals they recommend for you.
- Consuming a balanced nutritious diet is good for your teeth and the rest of your body. Vitamins and minerals help keep your teeth strong and healthy. On the other hand, diets high in sugars/carbohydrates promote tooth decay, as oral bacteria feed off sugars and produce harmful acids that break down your tooth enamel. Drinking plenty of water each day is also necessary for your oral health and well-being.
- Fluoride is a common preventative treatment to help reduce the risk of tooth decay, especially for individuals prone to cavities. The ADA reports that fluoride is capable of reversing early stages of tooth decay. Fluoride gel, varnish, or foam can be applied to your teeth by your dentist.
- Dental sealants are another preventative treatment aimed to protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth from developing cavities in the tight grooves and fissures.
- Orthodontics may be recommended by your dental professionals to help prevent or lessen the severity of developing misalignments and incorrect bites.
- Mouth-guards are a must for protecting your teeth and gums when participating in contact sports.
So, maintaining good oral health can not only help lower your risk of developing health issues, it also can save you from costly additional dental procedures.