Preventive dentistry is the modern way of reducing the amount of dental treatment necessary to maintain a healthy mouth. The two major causes of tooth loss are decay and gum disease. When we prevent or deal with these two problems, you have more chance of keeping your teeth for life.
Together with your dentist and hygienist, you can help to prevent the need for treatment, and so avoid the traditional pattern of fillings and extractions. We may recommend a course of treatment to get your mouth into good condition, and a maintenance plan to help you keep it that way.
If you have some of your own teeth, preventive dentistry will benefit you. Even if you don’t, you will still benefit because conditions like mouth cancer and denture stomatitis can be spotted during regular visits to the dentist and then treated. It is excellent for children and young people, and it is never too late to start.
Preventive dentistry starts with regular check-ups. They provide the opportunities to spot problems early, and deal with them before they get worse.
At your dental examination your dentist will first check all the pink parts of your mouth for signs of discomfort or oral cancer.
Your dentist will then assess your teeth and any restorations currently in your mouth. If you need any treatment to achieve a good state of oral health, your dentist will discuss it with you. Then the state of your gums will be checked, and if necessary we will recommended you see the hygienist for a scale and polish or a more in depth clean.
Depending on your dental history your dentist will decide with you the ideal interval for screening using radiographs (X-rays). This will reveal hidden tooth decay, and bone loss through gum disease.
Once your mouth is healthy it is unlikely that decay or gum disease will continue to be a problem. Between check ups, you can keep your mouth healthy by following our tips for good oral hygiene.
Tips for good oral hygiene
To help maintain good oral health:
•Brush and floss your teeth. We will show you the best methods of brushing and flossing. These will remove the bacterial ‘plaque’ which forms constantly on your teeth and gums. When you eat or drink something sugary, the plaque turns the sugar into acid, which will cause tooth decay.
•Avoid snacking between meals. The frequency of acidic attacks on the teeth is more important than the sugar content of what you eat and drink. Try to limit sugary drinks and sweets to meal time.
•Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating. It is better to leave about 30 minutes after finishing eating, before brushing your teeth.
•Avoid rinsing after you brush. Spit out the toothpaste at the end of brushing but don’t rinse the toothpaste off the teeth.
•Avoid smoking. Tobacco contains at least 80 different cancer causing substances. It increases your risk of oral cancer.
•Avoid drinking too much alcohol. On its own or particularly in combination with smoking, drinking can cause oral cancer (and others).
If you would like help with any of these please do not hesitate to ask your dentist or hygienist.
To help you we have many dental hygiene products available to buy at the practice. If you are not sure which is best for you, please ask.