7 Reasons Preventive Dental Care Is the Key to the Healthiest Smile
Maintaining Healthy Teeth and Gums for a Lifetime
As you grow older, how many of your teeth do you hope to keep? This seems like quite an obvious answer – all of them! Despite this, though, many people consider tooth loss to be an inevitable part of growing older. After all, teeth aren’t indestructible, and a lot can happen over the course of a lifetime, right?
This is certainly true, but tooth loss isn’t an inevitable part of getting older. These days, more people are keeping their teeth for longer than ever before! What’s the secret to this upward trend? It’s a surprisingly simple solution: preventive dental care.
If you’re curious how preventive dentistry and faithful at-home dental care could make a difference in the long-term health of your smile, here are seven ways it’s the key to the healthiest smile possible.
1. Starting tooth care from the very first tooth creates lifelong tooth-healthy habits.
There are many reasons it’s important to start caring for kids’ teeth the moment the first one begins erupting, just as it’s important to care for their gums beforehand. In addition to the more obvious reason (that baby teeth need to be cleaned regularly to protect them from decay), there’s also the fact that starting kids on an oral hygiene routine from a young age gets them used to the feeling of getting their teeth cleaned. Ideally, this will make it easier to continue the routine as they grow—rather than being something new you must implement and get them used to, it’s just something they’ve always done.
Plus, teaching your kids about the importance of oral hygiene and building it into their daily routines early creates great habits that will stick with them as they grow. They’ll benefit from these habits well into adulthood and for the rest of their lives, keeping their teeth and gums healthy even as they age.
2. A regular oral hygiene routine disrupts bacterial growth and plaque buildup.
You’ve likely heard the advice to follow a regular oral hygiene routine at home, but why is this so important? Well, when bacteria sit on your teeth all day or night, those bacteria stick together and form a biofilm called plaque that mineralizes into hardened tartar in just 24 to 72 hours. Once it’s formed, tartar can only be removed by a hygienist during your professional dental cleaning. Preventing this buildup is where your at-home oral hygiene routine comes in!
You’ve heard it before. Brush for two minutes twice a day, floss at least once a day, and use mouthwash as directed by your dentist. Every step of this routine cleans areas that the others can’t. Flossing, for example, cleans between your teeth and along your gum line, which are areas that your toothbrush’s bristles can’t reach. This makes flossing particularly essential for preventing gum disease as well as cavities.
3. Regular professional dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildups before they cause decay.
Over time, everyone develops at least a little buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth. Some amount of buildup is simply inevitable, even with a stellar oral hygiene routine. Getting a professional teeth cleaning every six months takes care of these buildups before they cause cavities or gum disease. Your dentist flosses your teeth, then uses specialized tools to remove tartar and plaque from your teeth before cleaning and polishing them.
The entire appointment generally only takes about 45 minutes and leaves your teeth completely clean. Since plaque and tartar are tinted yellow or brown, getting your teeth professionally cleaned regularly will keep your teeth healthier and will likely even leave them looking a little whiter!
4. Routine checkups help identify and treat potential problems early on.
When you visit Dr. Garcia for your regular dental cleaning, you’ll also get a dental checkup. While your dental cleaning helps prevent oral health issues, the checkup portion of your appointment is just as essential because it helps your dentist identify oral health issues as early as possible. Visiting Dr. Garcia every six months allows her to examine your teeth regularly, which gives her a much better chance of identifying any oral health issues as early as possible.
Many oral health issues are painless in the early stages, so Dr. Garcia can often diagnose and treat oral health issues like a cavity or gum disease before you develop painful symptoms like tooth pain. Plus, early treatments are often less expensive and less invasive than major dental treatments, saving time, money, and stress.
5. Sealants protect against decay.
A sealant is a thin protective layer that’s applied onto teeth as a varnish to protect against cavities. While sealants aren’t a substitution for a great oral hygiene routine, they’re an incredibly useful preventive dentistry treatment that’s often used to protect baby teeth as they erupt.
Baby teeth have a thinner layer of protective enamel, so cavities develop and spread on them faster than they do on adult teeth. Since cleaning your little one’s teeth thoroughly isn’t always easy, sealants can be a vital tool in your arsenal to protect your little one’s health! They’re not just for children, though, as sealants can also protect adult teeth that are at a greater risk for decay. They only take a few minutes to apply, but they reduce the risk of decay on molars by nearly 80%.
6. Fluoride treatments support tooth and gum health.
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that’s incredibly good for your oral health. It can be applied to teeth as a gel, foam varnish, or rinse to strengthen enamel, prevent cavities, and promote gum health. Fluoride actively helps fight decay, but it doesn’t just stop there. It also helps remineralize enamel that’s been slightly damaged by decay. Fluoride can’t erase cavities, but it can help repair minor spots of damage to your enamel that may otherwise have turned into cavities, which is still amazing!
Fluoride is also incredibly great for children because it helps build developing teeth to be even stronger, giving them more cavity-resistant teeth for a lifetime. These properties make the occasional fluoride treatment incredibly beneficial for children, but it’s often used for adults with a high risk of decay as well.
7. Preventive dental care helps you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime.
When it comes to your oral health, keeping your natural teeth is almost always the best, healthiest option – especially in the long term. After all, your natural teeth have many jobs to fulfill, including keeping your jawbone healthy and strong. Preventive dental care helps ensure that you can keep your natural teeth for a lifetime by protecting your tooth and gum health.
That said, we all know that cavities are easy to come by! Preventive dental care helps identify oral health issues early, helping you get the best possible results from your dental treatments. Plus, modern dentistry offers excellent solutions that can restore the health of damaged teeth while ensuring that they look and function just as naturally as ever! Used together, preventive and modern dentistry can help protect and preserve your natural teeth for a lifetime.
Parmer Lane Family Dentistry is your partner in lifelong oral health.
Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime, and preventive dental care can help ensure that they do! If you’d like to learn more about preventive dentistry and oral health or if you’d like to get started giving your teeth the preventive dental care they need, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Garcia at any time!