What is Preventive Dental Treatment?
Preventive dental treatments are measures to avoid dental disease and maintain the health and strength of your teeth and gums. Maintaining oral hygiene requires daily effort on your part. Your dentist can also offer certain preventive treatments and valuable advice. The American Dental Association recommends at least 2 dental visits a year for a thorough dental evaluation and cleaning. This helps identify any developing conditions so that suitable treatment can be provided early. Preventive dental care is especially useful for children. You can visit a pediatric dentist as soon as your child develops teeth or at least by the time your child turns one.
Types of Preventive Dental Treatment
Brushing and Flossing: Daily brushing and flossing help minimize dental plaque, a coating that contains decay-causing bacteria which gradually develops on the teeth. Left untreated, plaque can develop into tartar or calculus, a hardened, sticky deposit that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
Fluoride Treatment: Fluoride, when applied to the tooth surface, is absorbed, strengthening it and making it resistant to decay. Public water supply is fluoridated for its health benefits. Fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses are available, but you should visit your dentist for more effective fluoride treatment.
Diet Management: You should eat a balanced diet if you want healthy teeth. Limit sugar and carbohydrates which feed the bacteria present in plaque. An adequate amount of calcium is necessary to avoid gum disease and keep your jaws from deteriorating.
Periodic Dental Visits: Most dental conditions develop without any pain and only become evident when significant damage has taken place. Regular dental visits help identify dental or oral problems early so that timely treatment can be instituted. Children should have their oral growth and development assessed. Areas of dental decay are identified and treated. A dental cleaning helps remove tartar and stains that are difficult to remove with brushing. A dental x-ray may be performed to identify hidden cavities or problems within the gum. You should visit your dentist at least once in six months. For those with chronic oral conditions more frequent visits may be necessary.
Sealants: Your dentist may apply a sealant over the chewing surfaces of the teeth as a preventive dental measure for your child. Sealants protect tooth surfaces that are most likely to develop decay.
Orthodontic Treatment: People with crooked teeth or abnormal bite relationships may find it difficult to maintain oral hygiene. Orthodontic treatment helps straighten teeth and make them easier to clean.
Mouth Guards: Those who participate in sports can protect their teeth by wearing well-fitting mouth guards. Your doctor can have them custom made for the best fit.
Avoid Smoking: Smoking has many negative effects on oral health so stopping is a good preventive measure.
Counsel and Education: Your oral health can influence your overall health and well-being. Poor dental health has been linked with many conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and cancer. Improving dental awareness and understanding the ill effects of poor oral health can motivate you to take better care of your teeth.