Preventive dentistry is the modern approach to reducing the amount of dental treatment required to maintain a healthy mouth and help keep your teeth for life.
Tooth loss primarily results from gum disease and decay. A proactive approach to the management of these causes therefore increases the opportunity for prevention.
Whilst it is the ideal way to manage the oral healthcare of children and young adults, it is the recommended approach for everyone – including people with false teeth who can benefit through the early identification of conditions like mouth cancer and denture stomatitis.
Through recommended treatment and a maintenance plan, the combined efforts of the dentist, hygienist and patient can help prevent the need for treatment and so avoid the historical pattern of fillings and extractions.
What Does Preventive Dentistry Involve?
Preventive dentistry is the practice of caring for your teeth to keep them healthy. This helps to avoid cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, and more.
There are many forms of preventive dentistry, such as daily brushing and dental cleanings. To maintain optimal oral health, the British Dental Association (BDA) recommends visits to the dentist at regular intervals determined by a dentist. These practices are designed to ensure that teeth are clean, strong, and white. Children should be taught proper oral hygiene at an early age.
Brush Your Teeth Daily
The most important part of preventive dentistry is to brush your teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste approved by the British Dental Association (BDA). Most people should replace their toothbrushes three to four times per year or as the bristles start to fray.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue. This will help remove bacteria from your mouth and also help freshen your breath.
Daily flossing is also recommended. Flossing helps to clean out the tight spaces between the teeth. If you have braces, you may need to use floss threaders to get between the metal brackets.
To get the most benefit out of flossing, you’ll want to make sure you’re flossing in the correct way. At your next dental appointment, ask your dentist for a quick flossing demonstration to make sure you’re getting the full benefit from using this tool.
Visit Your Dentist
You should see your dentist at least once per year for an exam to check for any problems in the teeth or gums. If you’re at a high risk for dental problems, you’ll likely benefit from more frequent dental visits. If you’re at a low risk for dental problems, you may see the same benefits from only one cleaning per year. Dental cleanings and exams allow dentists to identify problems and take care of them right away.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet also helps to protect your teeth by providing them with the nutrients they need. Limit your sugar intake, including simple carbohydrates like white bread, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Vitamins are important for oral health. Eating a varied diet will help you to get all of the vitamins you need to maintain a healthy smile.
What Does Preventive Dentistry Do?
Preventive dentistry prevents people from developing dental problems later on. If you use proper dental care, you can avoid or lessen the effects of these:
- enamel loss
Who Benefits from Preventive Dentistry?
Everyone benefits from preventive dentistry. Children, in particular, benefit because it allows their newly developing adult teeth to come in strong and healthy. Dental sealants and topical fluoride treatments help prevent decay in your children’s teeth. If you’re an aging adult, you can benefit from preventive dentistry because it helps you to keep your real teeth.
Oral health is connected to the health of your body as a whole. This is because the mouth is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Maintaining a clean mouth benefits your overall health.
What Are the Benefits of Preventive Dentistry?
With good dental hygiene, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and other dental problems. This, in turn, can reduce your risk of secondary problems caused by poor oral health. Some health problems that may be linked to poor oral health are:
- heart disease
- respiratory disease
Premature birth and low birth weight may also be linked to poor oral health. You should continue to practice or adopt good preventive oral health if you’re pregnant. This includes visiting your dentist for routine checkups during your pregnancy.
While preventive dentistry may not completely eliminate your need for fillings, root canals, or dental implants, it can go a long way in reducing your need for these costly treatments.