Preventive Dental Care
Preventive dentistry is the practice of caring for one's 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 annual dental cleanings. These practices are designed to ensure that teeth are clean, strong, and white. Children should be taught proper oral hygiene at an early age. The most important part of preventive dentistry is to brush teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Most people should replace their toothbrushes three to four times a year or as the bristles start to fray. Daily flossing is also recommended. Flossing helps to clean out the tight spaces between the teeth. People with braces may need to use floss threaders to get between the metal brackets. Annual dental cleanings and exams allow dentists to identify problems and take care of them right away. People should see their dentists at least once a year for an exam to check for any problems in the teeth or gums. Eating a balanced diet also helps to protect the teeth by providing them with the nutrients they need.
When you visit your dentist for a routine checkup they will carefully examine all parts of your mouth for signs of trouble. This means they will check your gums and teeth for signs of decay and illness. Your dentist may also check on other parts of your body for signs of problems, including your neck, your head, your face, your throat, your saliva and how your jaw moves. Not only will these careful examinations allow the doctor to determine if you need any dentistry work done, they will also help them determine if you are showing any signs of serious medical problems, such as oral cancers, vitamin deficiencies, diabetes or joint problems.
One of the primary reasons we go to the dentist is to detect dental problems before they turn into serious concerns. While a physical examination can find noticeable signs of issues, some oral diseases are just not visible to the naked eye. This is why dental X-rays are such an important part of dental care. Dental X-rays can detect even the slightest traces of oral health problems at their earliest stages, such as cavities, gum disease, oral infections, and some types of tumors. With early detection, you can get the treatment you need before problems have a chance to develop.
The purpose of a routine cleaning is to remove any tartar or plaque that tends to quickly build up on your teeth. Soft plague can cause tooth decay and gum irritation. It can also harden on the teeth, which not only makes it more difficult to remove, but it also stains the teeth. Routine checkups (along with proper home care) are the best way to remove tartar and plaque build up to help prevent cavities and tooth decay. Your teeth will feel cleaner and look brighter after these things have been cleaned away. During the cleaning process the dentist will also look at any previous dental work you may have had done to make sure everything is still good. For example, they may make sure that any fillings you have had completed are still intact and that no decay is visible.
What can fluoride do for your dental health? Fluoride is an important part of preventative dental maintenance. It wards off dental cavities by allowing your teeth to become stronger against acids in the mouth. These mouth acids are caused by plaque bacteria which become mixed with sugar. When this happens, vital minerals that the teeth need to stay strong are diminished. This process, called demineralization, leads to tooth decay if the minerals are not replenished.