The health of your mouth, teeth and gums may affect your daily routine and day-to-day activities such as the way you chew and digest food, and speak. It may impact your confidence, influence social life and affect overall well-being. Thus your oral health is more important than you might realize and deserves proper care and attention.
Preventive dentistry can not just lead to better overall oral health but can minimize your risk of dental issues like cavities and gum diseases. By treating and detecting an oral health concern or issue on time, it can save you both money and time in the future.
On the other hand, getting dental issues treated in later stages may involve complex or in some cases invasive dental treatments and procedures which may even cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Oral diseases can cause pain, discomfort and can also result in tooth loss, speech problems and swallowing problems all of which can severely impact the quality of life. So it’s always better to prevent oral health problems in the first place and stay consistent with keeping your teeth healthy and clean to save time, money and unnecessary efforts.
Also, adopting simple habits and practices like daily brushing, flossing, rinsing etc can go a long way in helping maintain good oral hygiene. It can help protect your teeth, boost self esteem, and even enhance career. Due to all these reasons, preventive dentistry is widely gaining acceptance to promote and ensure a lifetime of good dental health.
What does preventive dentistry involve?
Preventive dentistry is the modern way of caring for your teeth and the gums. It can help you maintain good oral health and a healthy mouth throughout your life. Now what does it involve?Preventive dentistry is basically a combination of regular dental check-ups and good dental care habits/practices such as daily brushing, flossing and rinsing and keeping a proper oral hygiene routine.
Dentists believe that oral care should begin early in childhood even before the first baby tooth comes in. Also, fluoride should be introduced to your child’s diet right from 6 months of age to help kids develop healthy, strong teeth and to help prevent tooth decay.
1. Regular Dental Visits
In the present era, most people are stuck in an endless loop of tasks, responsibilities and commitments at work and personal life. Due to this reason, dental health is often neglected. Visiting a dentist for regular check ups is the last thing on their to do list.
Even when suffering from dental pain and swelling, people prefer taking over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers to avoid seeing a dentist and undergoing dental procedures. However popping more pain killers may put you at an increased risk of blood pressure and heart problems.
Another reason why people avoid dental visits is that being present at a dental clinic is often associated with anxiety, fear, and pain. Also, dental anxiety is very common among patients and prevents people from going to the dentist.
But seeing a dentist is one of the most important things to do or you might end up paying extra dollars in the longer run. It can not just take a toll on your wallet but your peace of mind. Below are the ways how regular dental check ups can be beneficial for oral health.
Can help identify diseases and dental issues on time
Preventive dental check-ups are important to identify dental problems early before they become a major issue and damage your oral health and overall health. During the dental check up, your dentist will look for signs of tooth decay, cavities, signs of gum disease, bruxism, TMJ disorders, signs of wear and tear, thinning enamel, and other problems.
When treated early, dental issues wont get worse and thus the person can have healthy teeth and maintain good oral health throughout his/her life. For instance, periodontitis is likely to turn into a more serious stage if it goes unnoticed and can damage the soft tissue and the bone that supports your teeth.
However, if periodontal disease is diagnosed early and treated timely, it can improve your chances of successful treatment and save you a both time and money.
Can help prevent a range of oral health concerns
Having your mouth checked by a dentist on a regular basis is extremely important to prevent a range of oral health concerns such as periodontal disease, teeth decay, teeth stains, tooth loss etc.
People who regularly get dental check ups are less likely to deal with serious dental issues and invasive and expensive dental treatments. During a dental visit, your dentist will examine the health of your teeth and look for early signs of tooth decay, gum disease and other problems. Also, he will thoroughly check for the presence of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums.
As for your gums, your dentist will insert a periodontal probe into the gingival sulcus to examine the condition of your gums and check if you have sore and inflamed gums to help avoid gum issues down the line. He will also check and measure the pocket depths between your gums and teeth throughout your mouth to analyze the status of your gum health. If the pockets are deeper than 4 mm, this means that your gums are pulling away from your teeth and may indicate periodontitis.
Can help prevent oral cancer
Early diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer can increase the chance of survival and prevent higher costs of care. Also, providing care at the earliest possible stage can improve oral cancer outcomes.
During a dental visit, a dentist not only checks for cavities and gum problems checks for signs of oral cancer such as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Thus he is your first line of defense against something so life threatening like oral cancer.
Can help boost self esteem and confidence
Teeth and smile are the very first thing that people notice upon meeting you. While a great smile and pearly white teeth can leave a lasting first impression, bad, stained teeth and a misaligned smile can affect your confidence, lower self esteem and create a negative body image.
During a regular dental visit, your dentist will conduct an oral exam of your gums and teeth and also check for cavities, gum disease etc. Besides diagnosing oral health problems, he can help you clean and polish your teeth and help you achieve a bright, attractive smile and shiny, stain free teeth which can boost your self esteem. Many dental clinics offer cleaning and polishing services during a routine dental visit.
How Often Do You Need To See Your Dentist?
So by now we know that regular dental check ups/exams are crucial for one’s dental health and overall health. Not only can they keep your gums and teeth healthy but help you achieve a whiter and brighter smile.
By helping address dental problems timely, your dentist can save you time and money in the future and help ensure overall health and hygiene in the long run. The basic rule of thumb says you should make an appointment with the dentist once in six months to prevent a host of oral related problems.
2. Oral hygiene
While your dentist definitely plays a very important role in helping you maintain a healthy mouth and strong teeth, it is your own responsibility too to take care of your gums and teeth.
Developing healthy dental habits early in life can help avoid cavities, gum infections, gingivitis, enamel wear, tooth loss and more. However, many people have a tough time deciding how much dental care is needed to keep the teeth and gums healthy. Below are the basic dental habits to follow and the proper ways to follow them for good oral hygiene.
- Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day—once at night and once before going to bed. Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles and allows easy access to all the surfaces of your teeth. In addition to this, use toothpastes that contain fluoride as it can help prevent cavities.
- Food stuck in the gums or teeth can turn to plaque and speed up the tooth decay process. Floss daily to remove any food particles that are stuck between the teeth safely and reduce the risk of cavities.
- Thoroughly rinse your teeth, gums, and mouth with a mouthwash after brushing and flossing to give your mouth a clean, fresh feeling and reduce bad breath. Using a mouthwash also helps reduce the bacteria in your mouth which can further help reduce dental plaque and gingivitis.
- Foods and beverages like candies, carbonated drinks, can cause plaque which can destroy tooth enamel and can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Untreated plaque can harden into tough-to-remove tartar and can even break down the bones that support teeth. Limit the intake of such foods to keep dental plaque and tooth decay at bay.
- Limit the intake of sugary drinks and foods because the sugars can cause the bacteria inside the mouth to produce acids that can attack tooth’s enamel and result in tooth decay over time.
- Also, limit the intake of alcohol. This is because beer, liquor and mixed drinks have high sugar content and high acidity which can break down the enamel that protects your teeth. They can negatively impact gum health and lead to gingivitis. Not only can alcohol speed up gum damage but lead to cavities and long term tooth decay.
- The risk of oral cancer is about 5 to 10 times greater among people who use tobacco products such as cigarettes compared to people who never consumed tobacco products and smoked. Quit smoking and tobacco use to reduce the risk of oral and many other cancers. Also, smoking can cause staining on the teeth and bad breath. It also puts you at risk for gum disease. Quitting smoking can help avoid discoloring on the teeth and bad oral health.
- If you are heading for a game or sports, always use a mouth guard to prevent an oral injury. If you grind your teeth at night, use a night time mouth guard to help limit overnight grinding and clenching and to reduce gum recession.