Preventive dentistry includes visiting your dentist every six months and taking care of your teeth with an individualised cleaning routine which prevents issues from arising.
Why is Preventive Dentistry important?
Preventive dentistry is an important part of keeping your mouth healthy and free of decay, which can contribute to a serious health condition called periodontitis (gum disease).
An estimated 80% of adults will be affected by gum disease at some point in their lifetime and this is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Through developing a preventive at home care programme in conjunction with regular professional cleaning appointments every six to twelve months, we can diagnose and treat gingivitis and periodontal (gum) disease, in its early stages and reverse any ill effects.
The need to prevent gum disease extends beyond your oral health
Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of other concerning health conditions, including heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke and lower birth weights of newborns.
Symptoms of gum disease
A side effect and perhaps the most embarrassing symptom of gum disease, which most sufferers are unaware of, is constant bad breath. This is caused by the accumulation of ever-present bacteria in your mouth exacerbated by poor oral hygiene, tooth decay and gum disease producing an unpleasant odour. Other symptoms can include bleeding gums and inflammation.
A preventative at home oral health program should include visiting your dentist every six months as well as the following:
A simple and effective oral hygiene routine will keep your teeth and gums healthy and your breath fresh.
Effective brushing tips:
- Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles so it does not scratch your tooth enamel and irritate or damage your gums.
- Place bristles along your gum-line at a 45° angle. The bristles should contact both the tooth surface and gum-line.
- Brushing 2-3 teeth at a time, gently brush the outer tooth surfaces using a back and forward motion for several seconds before moving to the next group of 2-3 teeth and repeat.
- Keeping your brush at a 45° angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface and gum-line, repeat the same motion along the inner tooth surfaces.
- To clean behind your front teeth, hold your brush vertically and make several up and down strokes using the tip of your brush.
- To effectively clean your back teeth, place the brush on the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back and forward sweeping motion. Be sure you also clean the inner and outer surfaces of your back teeth.
- To freshen your breath, brush your tongue from back to front to remove odour-producing bacteria. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s an important part of your cleaning routine.
- It is highly recommended to replace your toothbrush every three months or after illness – whichever comes first.
Although most people brush regularly, many do not include flossing as part of their daily care routine.
Flossing is essential to achieve and maintain your oral health. Brushing alone cannot remove all the plaque build-up and food particles, especially when caught in the tiny spaces between your teeth, under the gum-line, or between braces. Flossing these spaces is the only effective way to remove what your toothbrush cannot reach. We recommend you floss at night before bed to remove any food accumulated from meals and snacks throughout the day.
Using a back and forward motion, carefully insert the floss between two teeth. Gently bring the floss to the gum-line, but do not force it below the gum. Curve the floss around the side of your tooth to make a rounded “V” shape and slide it up and down the side of each tooth.
Use a new length of floss of approximately 7 – 10 centimetres for each tooth and repeat the process between all your teeth. Remember also to floss the back and sides of your back teeth. Although it can take some time to learn to floss efficiently and effectively, it should be considered an important part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Perseverance is the key to successful oral hygiene.
A healthy diet is equally important for your oral health as it is for your general health.
Foods and drinks that contain starches and sugars react with the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth creating acids that attack your tooth enamel, causing decay and cavities.
It is not the quantity but the frequency you consume these foods and drinks that cause the most damage.
Your saliva contains natural antibacterial properties and neutralises mouth acids, however regularly snacking and sipping on sweetened and acidic drinks throughout the day exposes your teeth and gums to a constant presence of decay-causing acids making it impossible for your saliva to neutralise completely.
The best snack choices include:
- Fresh crunchy fruits such as apples and pears
- Vegetables including carrot and celery sticks
- Fluoridated water
- Unsweetened teas
The ideal time to consume sweet foods and drinks is at normal meal times so as to limit their exposure to your tooth enamel, it is also advised to rinse your mouth with water after eating. Chewing sugar-free gum will increase saliva production and can help dislodge food particles from between your teeth.
At Refresh Dental our goal is to assist you in protecting your teeth and gums for a lifetime.
We provide optimal oral healthcare through our dental hygiene patient care program.