Preventative Dentistry Practices

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There are multiple dentistry practices that can help improve oral health, reduce bad breath, and catch disease early on. Many people don’t know how much preventative practices can help later on in life, so that is what we are going to explore today. Regular exams and teeth cleanings, daily brushing and flossing, and a healthy diet are all components of preventative oral care.

Regular Exams

Having your teeth viewed and examined by a dentist on a regular basis can do a lot to save you a lot of time and hassle later. They are highly skilled professionals that can catch signs of disease early on, and instruct you on the best course of action to treat it.

Regular exams by your dentist can identify issues by x-ray that may be undetectable otherwise. Every dentist is trained to read x-rays and understand what is going on inside your mouth. Impacted teeth, swelling, cysts, bone decay, and more can be identified through an x-ray, often long before any noticeable symptoms present. Catching these conditions early on is key to limiting your suffering and reducing the amount of damage done to your jaws and teeth. They are also a useful tool to ensure that new teeth are coming in correctly, so this is most important for younger children and those who have not had their wisdom teeth come in yet.

Your dentist will also provide a quick exam of your oral cavity and neck. They don’t only look at your teeth. This will help them identify any problems that can lead to disease of the tongue, throat, or neck. Catching disease in these areas early on is key to effective treatment. Leaving an issue undiagnosed for too long can lead to permanent damage.

Regular Teeth Cleanings

Regular teeth cleanings are another important aspect of preventative dentistry. They will almost always occur before the exam by the dentist, and you should be getting a cleaning roughly every 6 months depending on your oral health situation and your habits at home.

Regular teeth cleanings have a lot of benefits, and one of the major ones is preventing cavities. Cleanings by a hygienist professional can remove touch plaque and tarter that you can’t clean at home. Hard plaque and tarter will eventually cause cavities if left on the surface of the tooth, so regularly removing these materials from your teeth will prevent deeper cavities from forming. This process also removes bacteria that have taken up residence on your teeth. A professional cleaning will reduce overall inflammation in the mouth, bleeding by the gums, and it helps prevent gum disease from starting and/or escalating. These cleanings will also prevent the need for root canals since infection of the tooth will not be able to travel all the way to the root of the tooth between cleanings.

Regular teeth cleanings can also help save you some money. Although you may have to pay for each visit if your insurance does not cover the cost, it will prevent the need for more serious treatments and procedures later on. Overall, it is a great benefit to your health and your pocketbook.

Daily Brushing and Flossing

Daily brushing and flossing is something you can do at home that will drastically reduce your need for more complex procedures at the dentist’s office, such as cavity fillings and root canals. Brushing our teeth twice a day will remove any acids, bacteria, sugar, and other contaminants that have built up over the course of the day or night. This will reduce the damage they can do to your teeth and gums. Using a fluoride toothpaste will provide additional protection to your teeth and further prevent oral health complications.

It is also important to remember to brush your tongue. This area is prone to the growth of bacteria, so it should be cleaned daily as well. Changing your toothbrush roughly every 3 months will also help cut down on the bacteria in your mouth and improve oral hygiene considerably.

Flossing is not a practice that should be overlooked. Your toothbrush cannot remove and food particles or bacteria from between the teeth, and floss is designed for that purpose. Cleaning the spaces between your teeth with floss once a day (ideally before bed so nothing sits in your mouth overnight) can be the reason you prevent a cavity from forming.

Tooth Brush and cream

Diet

Many people don’t realize the kind of impact their diet has on their oral health. The foods and drinks you consume actually have a pretty significant impact on what goes on in your mouth. Reducing the amount of sugary, acidic, and carbonated foods and beverages you consume can really help your oral health. These foods cause damage to the enamel on our teeth, making them more vulnerable to cavities, and sugar is also the primary food source for bacteria. Limiting the amount of sugar available to bacteria in our mouths will reduce the incidence of tartar buildup and cavities. Sticky and chewy foods are another group to avoid, as they are hard to remove from the tooth surface and may stick around for a long time, contributing to plaque build-up and bacteria take over.

While there is a long list of foods to avoid for oral health, there are also things that you SHOULD be consuming on a regular basis to prevent disease and decay. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is recommended, as it can help wash out food particles from previous meals. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals is also a surefire way to protect the integrity of your teeth and gums. You’ll want to focus on foods that are rich in calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, as all of these minerals promote oral health. Vitamins D, K, C, and B2/3/12 all bring positive results to your oral health and can help prevent damage.

If you want to learn more about oral health and preventative dentistry, the professionals at Mills Haven Dental can assist you.