From cavities to periodontal disease, there are tons of issues that negatively impact oral health. Even seemingly small things, like minor soreness, can quickly develop into major problems. To help protect your teeth, mouth and gums against oral health problems, it’s important to engage in preventive dentistry.
As the name suggests, preventive dentistry is a type of dental care that’s focused on maintaining good oral hygiene. Instead of fixing problems as they occur, preventive dentistry aims to prevent issues from developing in the first place. The end result is a bright, healthy smile you can be proud of. And, as an added perk, preventive dentistry doesn’t require too much effort. Here are five things you can do now to protect your teeth.
1) Brush and Floss Regularly
One of the simplest ways to improve your oral health is by brushing and flossing regularly. As we eat and drink, plaque builds up on our teeth. It carries bacteria that, over time, will damage enamel and cause cavities. If you’re not doing so already, make it a goal to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (for at least two minutes each time). You should also floss daily and rinse your mouth with a fluoride-containing mouthwash.
When brushing your teeth, make sure you’re reaching every area. In addition to brushing the outside of your teeth, you should clean both the inner and chewing surfaces. For the best results, choose a toothbrush that has soft, nylon bristles. These bristles are softer on the gums, which reduces the risk of bleeding and makes brushing easier.
2) Avoid Sugary Foods
Desserts may be delicious, but unfortunately, they negatively affect oral health. When you consume sugar, it mixes with the bacteria found in plaque to create acid. This acid dissolves the enamel protecting your teeth, resulting in cavities. To prevent this from happening, try to avoid the following substances:
- Hard candies
- Baked goods
- Sugary cereal
Of course, it’s difficult to stay away from sugar all the time. If you’re craving dessert, you can minimize the risk of cavities by brushing your teeth as soon as possible.
3) Get Dental Sealants
Did you know that the tops of your teeth are particularly vulnerable to decay? They’re filled with little crevices that serve as perfect homes for food and bacteria to settle into. While this may sound alarming, there is a solution: dental sealants. These sealants consist of clear, plastic coatings that are painted directly onto the teeth to block unhealthy particles from settling down.
To apply the sealant, Dr. Patel will start by making microscopic notches on the teeth. The sealant will then cling to these notches, where it should remain for about nine years. It’s recommended that all children between the ages of six to 11 get dental sealants to help reduce the risk of cavities. Adults can also receive sealants if necessary.
4) Wear a Custom Mouthguard
While everyone is susceptible to oral health problems, some people are more at-risk than others. If you’re an athlete or if you grind your teeth at night, you have a higher chance of experiencing the following:
- Jaw pain
- Shoulder pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth damage or loss
A helpful way to prevent teeth grinding or to protect your mouth during sports is wearing a mouthguard. Not only does a mouthguard shield your teeth and gums from external forces, but it also cushions blows that could otherwise inflict damage upon the brain.
If you’re considering wearing a mouthguard, be sure to avoid over-the-counter solutions. General mouthguards (which can be found at pharmacies) are typically made of low-quality materials and are susceptible to breaking. At Dynamic Smile Design, our team can create a custom mouthguard based on molds of your teeth. The final product is a well-fitting, comfortable mouthguard that will effectively reduce teeth grinding and protect against athletic injuries.
5) Schedule a Preventive Exam
One of the best ways to keep your teeth and gums in top-notch shape is by going to the dentist for a preventive exam once every six months. During this appointment, Dr. Patel will carefully examine your mouth for the following:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Oral cancer
In some cases, Dr. Patel may take an x-ray to achieve a more in-depth look of your teeth and gums. At the end of the check-up, she will review the results with you and offer advice on next steps. In some cases, all the patient needs is a routine dental cleaning. During a cleaning session, Dr. Patel and the Dynamic Smile Team will thoroughly floss your teeth, being sure to check areas you may not have been able to reach. They’ll also help eliminate any tartar that’s been resisting your toothbrush. Finally, they’ll polish your teeth to strengthen your enamel and protect against issues like gingivitis and halitosis.
In more serious cases, you might need a deeper cleaning. For example, if our team notices signs of gum disease during your regular appointment, we may recommend periodontal therapy. In this procedure, Dr. Patel will clean the pockets surrounding your teeth to prevent damage to the underlying bone. Another serious problem is oral cancer. During an oral cancer screening, Dr. Patel will briefly check for red or white patches in the mouth. If any concerning signs are found, we’ll schedule a follow-up appointment to take a closer look. While these issues may sound alarming, there is a silver lining: they’re often treatable (especially when caught early).
Schedule An Appointment Today!
Far too often, patients wait until they experience a serious oral health problem before scheduling an appointment. In many cases, problems can be avoided entirely through regular preventive dentistry. If you’re looking for professional dental care to help maintain your oral hygiene, Dynamic Smile Design is here to help! Whether you need a specific service (like dental sealants) or just require a general consultation, we’ll get the job done. Keep your smile in prime condition by requesting an appointment today!