Many of us put prevention low on the priority list when it comes to our teeth and oral care. Yet investing a small of time at home each day, and a bi-annual visit to the dentist, is one of the best time and outcome investments we can ever make. Failing to do so can have a disastrous payback in terms of our oral and general health.
Studies and experience have shown that taking action in advance when it comes to dental care can greatly reduce the amount of pain, cavities, tooth loss and gum disease we suffer. It can also help prevent us becoming the one in 75 men (or 150 women) that statistics suggest contract oral cancer, or join almost one out of two Americans who experience some level of gum disease during their lifetime.
Gum disease, or periodontitis can lead to pain, tooth loss and damage the bone that supports the teeth. And the ravaging effects of periodontitis don’t stop there. They can spread into the body’s general health system, and contribute to, or aggravate the severity of diseases like heart problems and strokes, diabetes, as well as Alzheimer’s and pancreatic cancer, and more.
What Does Preventative Dentistry Involve
Basically, preventative dentistry involves strong teamwork between you and your dentist. Your role revolves around keeping your mouth and teeth as healthy as you can at home, and visiting the dentist regularly. It also involves learning to be alert to any changes in your teeth and mouth which could be early signs of trouble.
Following a good oral hygiene programme at home means prioritizing regular brushing sessions, of two minutes each, twice a day; flossing between the teeth once a day (before going to bed), and avoiding dietary and lifestyle habits that impact adversely on the teeth. These include opting out on cigarettes or tobacco products, restricting alcohol consumption and avoiding acidic and sugary foods and beverages, and not using your teeth for anything other than chewing your food.
For the dentist to be an effective part of your team, regular check-ups are vital to your oral health. These should preferably be done every six months, but certainly no less than once a year. At these check-ups, the dentist, aware of your dental history, will be alert to any changes in your teeth, mouth or gums, and take whatever preventative action is necessary to deal with any early signs of threats to your oral health.
A thorough dental cleaning will be done to handle any build-up of plaque or tartar in places normal brushing can’t reach, and any cavities, filling replacements and repairs to teeth will be carried out. The dentist will also offer valuable advice regarding your home oral hygiene protocol.
Preventive dentistry can contribute a great deal to saving you and your family from pain, suffering, and the possibility of serious illness, while involving you in very little time and effort. When it comes to time management, it should be top of the list when allocating that precious commodity, and building a sound relationship with your dentist is vital to its success.