3 Things to Know About Preventive Dentistry
Preventative dentistry involves you keeping your teeth and gums healthy by taking actions that will protect against dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and enamel loss. Tooth decay and gum disease are two of the most common dental issues that people seek care for, yet both are preventable.
Essential things that you should know about preventive dentistry
Things like daily oral hygiene and teeth cleanings fall under preventive dentistry. The American Dental Association recommends visiting a dentist at least two times a year for preventive treatments like teeth cleanings, dental sealants, and fluoride treatments. Here are a few things that patients should be doing to protect their teeth and gums.
1. Brush twice daily
Brushing teeth at least twice a day is the foundation of preventive dentistry. Gum disease and tooth decay are both caused by the same bacteria that live in the mouth. These microorganisms consume the sugars in food particles left on teeth and convert them into acids that eat away at teeth enamel, causing tooth decay.
Oral bacteria also form plaque, a sticky film that builds up on teeth after meals. It makes a person’s mouth feel sticky in the morning or after a nap. Plaque contains bacteria and acids that damage teeth structures. Fortunately, it can be removed by brushing or flossing teeth. It hardens into calculus (tartar) when left on teeth surfaces for more than 24 hours. Tartar cannot be removed from teeth surfaces by flossing or brushing. Dentists typically take it off with a scaler or ultrasonic tool during teeth cleanings.
Brushing the teeth at least two times per day helps minimize tartar buildup on teeth. The most important time to brush the teeth is right before going to bed. That is the most vulnerable period for teeth because saliva production is reduced during sleep, which creates optimal conditions for oral bacteria to wreak havoc in the mouth.
2. Floss daily
Flossing is just as important as brushing because the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach tight interdental spaces. Flossing gets rid of food particles and plaque trapped between teeth. It also stimulates gum tissues, keeping them healthy.
Dentists usually recommend flossing teeth once per day. Flossing before brushing teeth seems to be the most effective approach.
3. Visit a dentist twice a year
Biannual visits to a dentist also help keep teeth healthy. These visits serve multiple purposes. For starters, teeth cleanings are typically performed during these appointments. Teeth cleaning removes tartar deposits that have built up since the patient’s last visit. Regardless of how well a person takes care of their teeth, tartar deposits will eventually form on them.
Dental checkups also give dentists a chance to examine their patients for developing issues. Appropriate treatments can be performed for any problems detected. Last but not least, dentists perform preventive treatments like applying dental sealants and fluoride treatments during these appointments.
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