The concept that prevention is better than cure is not a new one, and it’s certainly not entirely new in dentistry. However, with increasing awareness of the serious threat oral health problems can pose to our general health, the focus has shifted even more in that direction.
Understanding of the important role our teeth, gums and tongue play in our lives and diseases has come an awfully long way since the days when it revolved almost exclusively around filling or extracting teeth that had developed cavities. Preventing damage to teeth and gums has correspondingly become about far more than lessening the chance of a gap-toothed smile, avoiding the dentist’s chair, or hoping not to have to wear ill-fitting dentures. Ask your local Richmond dentist about preventative dentistry today!
Links have been made between gum disease and secondary health issues which include premature or low birthweight babies born to pregnant women; as well as heart disease, strokes and one of the world’s biggest killers – diabetes.
It starts with you
A good preventative dentistry program starts at home, with you. Taking on responsibility for the health of your teeth and gums now is an investment in your oral and general health in the future. And it’s one that will pay off well in terms of the beauty of your smile, how long you keep your teeth, your general state of health, and in the health of your bank balance. Not many investments pay back as many benefits, especially when the only cost to you is extra care and a certain amount of time.
Develop a well-rounded approach
That time and attention needs to be devoted to developing a well-rounded approach to oral hygiene. This includes not only correct, regular and thorough cleaning of your teeth and tongue; but a rethink about diet to exclude sugary or acidic foods. Upping your intake of water is a positive, too. Quitting smoking and cutting out alcohol should be a priority, because of its direct link to oral cancer, a disease diagnosed in 1 of 150 women and 1 of 75 men.
A very important part of your own preventative dentistry program is to become alert to any changes you notice or experience in your mouth, throat, neck, jaw or face. Should any of these last for more than two weeks, consider seeking your dentist’s advice.
Calling in the professionals
Regular visits to your dentist should be made on a six monthly or annual basis, or, better still, be based on a schedule determined for you by your dentist according to your individual needs.
Benefits of a dental check-up
- Your dentist will get a good idea of your current oral health status.
- A thorough check will be conducted for signs of infection or indications of gum disease or oral cancer.
- The dentist will be on the look-out for new cavities and checking old ones in case they’ve started breaking down, which fillings do after 8 or 10 years. Bacteria builds up in the gap formed underneath them during breakdown, decay ensues and weakens the tooth enough for it to break.
- A thorough cleaning will remove tartar and plaque on the teeth.
- Your dentist will advise on any recommended treatment as well as on improvements or additions to your oral hygiene program that might be necessary.
Keeping a handle on what’s going on in your mouth right now is sure to make handling what happens in it later a lot easier and less expensive.