Preventive Dental Maintenance 101

Why Checkups and Cleanings Are Essential

Everyone can benefit from preventive dental maintenance, and taking a just a few vital steps can not only help keep your teeth healthy, but also enhance your overall health. Here are some things you should be paying attention to:

  • Daily brushing. The most important part of preventive dental maintenance is brushing your teeth (and tongue) daily with a fluoride toothpaste that’s approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). You should also replace your toothbrush every three or four months.
  • Daily flossing. Flossing each day is also recommended to keep the spaces between your teeth clean and free of plaque. Daily flossing not only helps prevent tooth decay, but also can help reduce the risk of gum disease by cleaning where your toothbrush may not be able to reach.
  • Healthy diet. Eating a balanced diet, limiting sugar intake, and drinking plenty of water give your teeth the necessary nutrients to maintain your healthy smile.
  • Regular dental visits. Visiting your dentist for regular checkups allows them to recognize problems with your teeth and gums and fix them without delay. If you’re at high risk for dental issues, you should consider two appointments a year; if you’re at a low risk for problems, annual cleanings might be enough.

Preventive dental maintenance is important for the whole family, particularly children, because it will help their emerging adult teeth come in healthy and strong. Some of the preventive practices recommended for children include:

  • Dental sealants. A thin layer of clear composite resin is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth to help prevent tooth decay.
  • Topical fluoride treatments. A fluoride rinse is used to gently rinse the mouth, restoring minerals that help teeth remain strong and durable.
  • Drinking tap water. If your local tap water is fluoridated, it’s recommended that children drink tap water rather than bottled water, which does not contain fluoride.

Teaching your children healthy habits at a young age can make all the difference in their future health (dental and otherwise).

Preventative Dentistry and Overall Health

Preventive dental maintenance can reduce the risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis, which subsequently can decrease the likelihood of other health problems related to poor dental health, which might include:

  • Diabetes. Those with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems due to poor blood sugar control, and gum disease may cause blood sugar levels to rise.
  • Heart disease. Research has uncovered a link between oral health and heart disease. When bacteria spread from the mouth to the heart through the bloodstream, it can cause inflammation, leading to endocarditis, clogged arteries, and stroke.
  • Osteoporosis. Bone loss has been found to have a major impact on the area of the jawbone that supports the teeth in older men and women.
  • Respiratory disease. A study published in the International Journal of Pulmonary and Respiratory Sciences uncovered a link between the risk of pneumonia and decaying teeth.
  • Cancer. The bacterium that causes periodontitis has been linked to pancreatic cancer, according to a 2018 Swedish study.
  • Premature birth and low birth weight. Studies have shown an incidence of low birth weight among the offspring of women who neglect their teeth during pregnancy.

Preventive dental maintenance can actually also save you money by reducing the need for costly treatments such as fillings, root canals, and dental implants, and eliminate the need to treat other health problems. If you would like more information about how preventive dental maintenance can improve your life or need a professional opinion regarding dental hygiene, schedule an appointment online or call us at (254) 863-8003.

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