What is Preventive Dentistry?
Preventive dentistry is the practice of caring for your teeth to keep them healthy. It helps to avoid cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, bad breath and keeps you in a healthy oral condition. It includes simple home care procedures to take care of your teeth and gums: brushing, flossing, mouth-rinses, eating a healthy diet and visiting your dentist every 6 months to help avoid dental disease.
Who benefits from Preventive Treatment?
Everyone benefits from preventive dentistry. Children in particular benefit because it allows their newly developing adult teeth to erupt strong and healthy. Aging adults benefit from preventive dentistry because it helps them to retain their natural teeth. Oral health is connected to body health as a whole. This is because the mouth is an entry point for breeding harmful bacteria. Maintaining a clean mouth benefits overall health.
The most important prevention technique is brushing and flossing at least twice a day (or after every meal) to remove dental plaque; a white film like coating that forms on your teeth. If not removed, plaque can build-up and produce dental calculus (tartar). This is a hardened, sticky substance with acid producing bacteria that cause tooth decay and leads to gum disease.
Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay by making the entire tooth surface more resistant to acid attacks from the bacteria. Fluoride promotes remineralization which aids in repairing early decay before a cavity forms in the tooth. Professionally administered topical fluorides such as foams, gels or varnishes are applied by a dentist and left on for a few minutes, usually during a cleaning treatment. For patients with a high risk of cavities, the dentist may prescribe a special gel or toothpaste for daily home use.
Plaque Disclosing Tablets
Dental plaque is almost invisible to the naked eye. Plaque disclosing tablets contain a non-toxic vegetable dye (erythrocine) that makes it easy to see. Many dental professionals use disclosing products during dental visits to teach children how to clean their mouths better. Dentists then prescribe these tablets for use at home. They’re particularly effective for youngsters who haven’t established the best brushing and flossing habits.