Maintaining good oral health and avoid building up dental issues from getting out of hand is preventive dentistry. The idea of prevention is to keep the teeth and the gums in good health and avoid cavities, tooth loss, enamel wear and gum diseases. With our changed lifestyle, and refined diet we need to be more careful about what we eat and its effect on our dental health. With refined food, and added sugar in almost all the drinks and many foods, we have to maintain our oral health regime religiously to keep our oral health in perfect condition. Preventive dentistry is following a strict oral health schedule, visiting the dentist at least twice a year and start children to taking care of their mouth early on in life. Preventive dentistry arrests dental disease in the beginning stage by early intervention.
Early start for the child
Preventive dentistry should begin at the beginning like when the child gets its first tooth, and throughout his childhood and adulthood. It offers services to look after your dental needs including Regular oral examinations, every 6 months or so.
You and dental care
Like everything else in life, good habits in dental care goes a long way in prevention of dental issues. Unless you take proactive role in your dental care, nobody else can. Start early. If you have a child at home, start dental care routine early in life.
The dental procedures followed in preventive dentistry include prevention of cavities, and gum diseases.
Preventive dentistry procedures include the following.
Provision for fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral which is very useful in strengthening the dental material. The dentist will ensure the fluoride content in your water. Usually, most areas have their water supply enriched with fluoride. But in case your area does not have fluoride water, your dentist will arrange to supplement fluoride your diet. The fluoride application can be provided to teeth in dental clinics. The mouthguard like tray is fitted on the teeth of patients, which contains fluoride and kept for sometime for teeth to absorb fluoride. This treatment is useful for children as well as adults.
Molars and premolars develop pits or fissures on the chewing surface. The food gets trapped in these fissures and start to rot developing tooth decay. These fissures can be treated with sealants which will become a barrier for bacteria to safeguard the teeth.
Deep cleaning of teeth
The dental cleaning of teeth regularly is one of the important jobs of the general dentist to prevent tooth decay and also gum diseases. The procedure is simple where the dentist clean teeth with special tools which dislodges the dental plaque from areas which daily brushing cannot reach. This will ensure health of your gums. In normal cases this cleaning is done every time the individual sees the dentist on normal appointment, which is every 6 months or so.
Preventing overcrowding of teeth
There are instances of crowded teeth in children who are going through the process of shedding temporary teeth. Sometimes a permanent tooth is ready to erupt, but there is no place to breakthrough because the temporary tooth has not fallen. The paediatric dentist can see this during the visits and explains the situation to parents. It is then decided to remove the temporary, deciduous tooth to make way for the permanent tooth to come through. This will stop crowding of tooth and will allow the new tooth to be straight and not get crooked due to lack of space. This procedure takes place around school age like 8 to 9 years.
Space maintaining appliances
In some cases, the place for the permanent teeth becomes empty long before the teeth erupt. If the deciduous teeth are lost prematurely because of cavities or trauma, the posterior tooth can move forward and occupy this space. In such a case, there will be no space for the permanent tooth to erupt, and very likely it will crowd the little space may look crooked. The paediatric dentist will place a space maintainer in the empty space to stop the neighbouring tooth to move forward which will safeguard the space for the legitimate tooth to erupt at its correct time. These devices save complications in the teeth eruptions in children.
The preventive dentistry benefits people of all ages. It is very important to introduce children at an early age to the family dentist and paediatric dentist to start him on the way of taking good oral care of oneself. Children should learn the good dental care habits as soon as they get their first tooth. If good habits are formed early, they will help prevent major dental issues later in life.
Adults also benefit from preventive dentistry as they can look after their teeth so that teeth are not decayed and lost. Even after the teeth are lost, the preventive dentistry can help in taking care of restored teeth. The dentist also will help in showing adults how to keep the remaining teeth from losing. In case of any dental appliances installed the dentist will help in safeguarding those with proper care.
Good oral health is a window to your general health. If you have a healthy set of teeth and gum, chances are you have a healthy body and healthy mind. Good oral health complements your sense of general well-being and will benefit in having a better self-concept during old age.
Some of the healthy oral care habits include:
- Brushing at least twice a day is the basic health are routine. Brushing before going to bed at night is a must, because during the long hours of sleep at night, the bacteria have lots of time to work on your teeth.
- Flossing before bed is as important as brushing. There are food particles that get lodged between the teeth. Only flossing can remove these tiny food particles. You can floss after every meal, but before going to bed is vital because of the hours bacteria gets to work on the food particles resulting in decay.
- Rinsing after every meal will help getting rid of residues of food stuck on your gums and teeth. The sugar which remains in the mouth long after meals, is the food for bacteria to work on. It will help in keeping gums healthy if there is no sugar left in the mouth after meals are over.
- Balanced diet which will serve the necessary nutrients for the teeth will help in long life of your teeth. Lots of sugary food and drinks helps in decaying of teeth and gum diseases.
- Regular appointments with your dentist cannot be emphasised more. The dentist will give a deep cleaning of teeth, take x rays to see any irregularities in the teeth and will ensure healthy teeth and gums.