The goal of preventive dentistry is to maintain healthy teeth and gums, and to prevent oral illnesses. Proper diet and plaque control will help you to safeguard yourself against dental decay and keep healthy set of teeth for your whole life. Involvement in your own dental health is the key when practicing preventive dentistry.
Top 10 Ways to Practice Preventive Dentistry
1) Brush twice a day. Preventive dentistry begins at home. Brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively. When done properly, brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of your teeth. To brush properly:
Use a toothbrush with soft nylon and rounded bristles to prevent your brush from scratching your tooth enamel. Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of your teeth using a circular motion. Be sure to gently brush in an up and down motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces and gumline. Don’t forget to brush behind your teeth and along the biting surfaces. Remember, do not share toothbrushes with others – it can spread germs. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
2) Floss. If you are serious about preventive dentistry, brushing is not enough. Even the most careful brushing reaches only three-fifths of all tooth surfaces. Dental floss gets to areas that the brush cannot – between teeth and along the gumline. If your gums bleed or feel tender from flossing, don’t be alarmed. This reaction is the sign of the healing process.
3) Eat a balanced diet. It should be no surprise that your nutritional intake is imperative to preventive dentistry. A balanced diet must contain carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, mineral salts and fiber and it must contain these things in the correct proportions. If you do not eat a balanced diet you are more likely to get tooth decay and gum disease.
4) Limit between-meal snacking. Preventive dentistry focuses on obstructing problems before they happen. Every time you put food in your mouth you give plaque the opportunity to form. Do not give it a chance to develop. If you do snack, choose nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or fruit. Plaque uses sugar and starch to produce acids that can destroy your tooth enamel. Steer clear of sugary foods, and if you must eat them try to do so during a meal, when saliva can help wash them away.
5) Do not smoke. Rather than focusing on repairing damage to gums, tooth enamel and tooth color that is caused by this habit, practice preventive dentistry and steer clear of smoking. Smoking can also lead to even more serious problems such as oral cancer.
6) See your dentist twice a year for cleaning and exam. Even if you brush and floss properly, there is no substitute for a professional cleaning. Dentist can remove tartar buildup that regular brushing and flossing are incapable of. Preventive dentistry is about stopping problems before they start or intercepting problems at the earliest stage possible. Don’t wait until your teeth hurt to visit your dentist. Tooth decay does not normally hurt, that is, until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth.
7) Ask your dentist for sealants. This method of preventive dentistry closes the natural pits and fissures in teeth, keeping bacteria, plaque and cavities from developing.
8) Get a bite evaluation. Controlling your biting force is a preventive dentistry measure to avoid premature wear on your teeth. If you have a problem your dentist can help you correct it before the damage becomes severe.
9) Restore damaged, broken, worn or missing teeth. While these measures may seem retroactive, taking care of existing issues is actually a method of preventive dentistry. Like anything else, current problems only get worse when they are not attended to and in oral health, those problems can lead to others not only in your mouth, but throughout the rest of your body including vital organs and your central nervous system.
10) Educate yourself. The essence of preventive dentistry is your awareness and action. While your dentist can advise you, visits to the office happen only a few times a year. The rest of the year is left up to you. Make sure to ask your dentist for his or her advice regarding preventive dentistry and most of all, make the commitment to carrying it out.