The dental field is filled with many terms. You may hear cosmetic, restorative, or general dentistry used, but preventative dentistry is an entirely different focus. The other areas work on correcting issues that you may already have or work to enhance the appearance of your teeth, preventative dentistry is much different and involves many more aspects than you may realize. Preventative dentistry is the caring and maintaining healthy teeth and gums through good oral habits and regular visits to the dentist.
It takes a combination of caring for your teeth and gums at-home and seeing the dentists for exams and cleanings to ensure your smile is free of problems like cavities or bad bites, or gum disease.
Dental Health Care At-Home
Excellent oral habits at home are the foundation for a healthy smile. Regularly brushing, flossing, and mouth rinse can help remove plaque that can lead to deterioration of the tooth. Plaque, itself, isn’t that bad. But if given enough time to harden into tartar this is where the real problem lies. Tartar is very difficult to remove on your own, if not impossible. It requires a trip to the dentist to eliminate. They have special tools that are strong enough to break through the tartar, without damaging the enamel of the teeth.
Brushing and flossing may seem like a minor thing, but many skips over these simple tasks, which lead to more significant problems. Preventative dentistry is all about stopping issues before they arise and maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
A great example, is when you brush your teeth, do you notice that the gums are sensitive, red, and have a tendency to bleed? This is a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. With frequent brushing and flossing to remove embedded particles around the gum line, in most cases, gingivitis can resolve without seeing the dentist. However, the longer you put off taking care of your teeth, the worse the problem may become. Gum disease can lead to gum recession which affects the gums ability to protect the tooth and has a somewhat unwanted appearance.
Good Oral Health Care Habits
Brushing your teeth every day has probably been preached to you at some point in your life, and it couldn’t be more of an accurate statement. The Amercian Dental Association has approved toothpaste that contains fluoride that is a must for at-home use for healthier teeth. Using the correct method for brushing and flossing is just as important as how often you do it. If you are unsure that the way you are currently brushing and flossing is correct, ask your dentist to instruct you on the proper way to do so.
While the tongue may seem like not a tremendous player in your oral health, it indeed is. Dentists recommend that you take the time during brushing to gently scrub the tongue to help loosen and remove bacteria. Not only is this great for your total oral health it is also fantastic for better breath.
Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Often people don’t think about what they eat or drink, but some beverages and food can be harsh on the teeth and gums. Acidic foods have a tendency to affect the enamel of the teeth and can wear it down faster. As you have probably been told by your dentist at an early age, limiting the amount of sugar you have in your diet can significantly help your teeth too. Sugar will lead to cavities and cavities can lead to tooth loss. Eating balanced, healthy food, while drinking plenty of water is just one key to ensure you have excellent preventative dental care all the time.
Lastly, toothbrushes aren’t meant to last forever. While it an seems like a hassle to go out and purchase a new one, your mouth will thank you. If you think about all the bacteria and food particles you are scrubbing away, not all is removed with simple rinsing. Also, the bristles will start to wear over time, regardless of how nice your toothbrush may be. Dentists and the ADA recommend changing your toothbrush every three months, or after having an illness.
Dental Procedures For Preventative Dentistry Visits
When you see the dentist for a bi-annual exam, also known as your preventative care visit, they will likely do three things. Your dentist will have x-rays taken, visually examine your teeth and gums for any probable issues, and perform a cleaning. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, they may need to schedule another visit for deep cleaning or to fill cavities found during the exam.
Some offices offer digital x-rays in their office. This gives the dentist a clear picture of what is going on with your teeth, as well as the ability to chart changes they notice or areas that are becoming prone to damage. Having such a clear image to work with and more information, the dentist will be able to instruct you on things better to avoid or recommendations for things to do. The cleaning, which most people enjoy, will eliminate all the tartar and plaque buildup you may have missed with regular brushing and flossing. In most cases, caring for your teeth at home, while is terrific for your oral health, it won’t reach everything all the time. Seeing your dentist bi-annually can remove any leftover particles giving your teeth optimal chances for better health.
The Importance of Dental Health
There are numerous reasons to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The first and most apparent to patients is for the appearance of their smile. If better-looking teeth are what you desire, it is essential to keep them as healthy and clean as possible. Seeing the dentist regularly is highly recommended so that they can identify any changes or problems that have occurred since your last visit.
Not using good oral habits such as brushing and flossing daily can result in serious issues, and the worse is the deterioration of the tooth and breakage that may require extraction or the onset of an infection that can be quite painful. Seeing your dentist twice a year for preventative dentistry treatments is probably the best advice for caring for teeth and gums. Noticing smaller problems early on is easier to fix, which is also less expensive, and will give you the beautiful, healthy smile most desire.