How Can Preventative Care Help Me?
Preventive care is beneficial at any age, but it is particularly beneficial for children because it helps emerging teeth come in strong and healthy. Dental sealants and fluoride treatments help prevent tooth decay in kids. Preventive medicine helps adults keep their real teeth longer.
Preventive care may be one of the most important things you can do to protect your dental health and your smile.
What Can I Expect?
Brushing and flossing are the most important preventive care measures, and something patients can easily do at home. Bacteria, food debris, saliva, and naturally occurring acids combine to form plaque, which sticks to the surface of teeth. The acid in plaque can dissolve tooth enamel to create holes in the teeth, known as cavities or caries. Left in place, plaque can harden into tartar, which can accumulate under the gum line. There, the same bacterial acids that cause tooth decay can cause gum disease and even tooth loss. Flossing daily prevents plaque and bacteria from building up and causing tooth decay and gum disease between teeth.
Regular dental checkups are also an important aspect of preventive care. A dental exam itself is a type of preventive care, in that the purpose of the exam is to detect dental problems early and prevent them from getting worse. Common preventive care at the dentist’s office typically includes an oral examination and dental images (x-rays).
Professional dental cleanings are essential for preventive care. During these cleanings, dental hygienists use special tools and techniques to remove tartar from between teeth. Professional cleanings can prevent the development of tooth decay and cavities.
Preventive care may also include education focusing on good dental hygiene habits, learning the early warning signs of gum disease and tooth decay, and reviewing foods that improve dental health.