Modern dentistry focuses firmly on prevention to help maintain healthy teeth and gums. This includes avoiding dental problems or stopping them from getting any worse by keeping a close eye on your mouth. This proactive approach can reduce the need for more involved treatment, which can save significant time, discomfort and money.
Regular visits to the dentist and hygienist mean any issues can be spotted early and addressed before they progress. These problems can include:
- Decay and Cavities
- Gum disease
- Oral cancer
- Dental erosion
As well as detecting problems with your teeth and gums, the hygienist can also:
- Scale and polish teeth – even if you brush your teeth every day, this is not enough to prevent the gradual build-up of plaque. A thorough professional clean, at least twice a year, can remove stubborn tartar and plaque deposits.
- Check the health of your gums – this will ensure the early signs of gum disease are spotted early.
- Teach you how to look after your teeth – this includes giving advice on specific dental tools, as well as offering tooth-friendly diet tips.
- Apply fissure sealants – this protective coating prevents bacteria and food particles from settling in the narrow fissures of the back teeth.
In addition to seeing dental professionals regularly, there are some steps you can take to ensure the continued health of your teeth and gums:
- Brush teeth effectively – brush twice a day and clean between teeth with floss or interdental brushes. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride as this can help strengthen teeth.
- Disclosing tablets can reveal any areas you may have missed when brushing.
- Give up smoking – it can cause a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, which inhibits healing and can increase your risk of developing gum disease. Smoking can also cause an increased amount of plaque and tartar, as well as staining teeth.
- Avoid too many sugary snacks and drinks – these combine with harmful bacteria on the teeth to create enamel attacking acid.
- Start oral education early – encourage children to start looking after their teeth as early as possible.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums can also help protect your general well-being as poor oral hygiene has been linked to other health issues such as heart disease, respiratory disease and osteoporosis.
Tooth Decay Detection
Decay may or may not cause discomfort; even though it doesn’t hurt, the tooth is deteriorating.
Using higher magnification and powerful lighting, it is easier to detect decay at an early stage to prevent excessive tooth damage. When cavities are small, they are much easier and less expensive to treat.
Early tooth decay does not tend to show many physical signs. Sometimes the tooth looks healthy, but your dentist will be able to see from an x-ray whether you have any decay under the enamel, any possible infections in the roots, or any bone loss around the tooth.