Preventive Dental Care
Maintain a Healthy Smile with Preventive Care
Preventive dental care is the act of keeping your teeth and gums clean so that they will remain healthy and functional. The quality of your oral health impacts your overall health and well-being, so neglecting your teeth or being lazy about your dental care is unwise. Even when your teeth are in good condition, keeping up with the proper care and treatment of your smile will help you hold on to your natural teeth and beautiful smile for a very long time.
Preventive Dental Care Best Practices
Caring for your teeth and gums is a tandem exercise between patient and dentist. It’s your responsibility to clean your teeth every day, and it’s up to you to schedule and keep your bi-annual cleaning appointments and dental exams where a professional will tend to the well-being of your smile as well.
- Brush: While it is ideal for you to brush your teeth twice daily, brushing more often than this is certainly not frowned upon. It’s the brushing technique that’s important to perfect. You want to brush hard enough to remove plaque, bacteria, and food particles that have gathered on the surface of your enamel. However, you don’t want to brush so hard that you damage your gum tissue. Good brushing is about being thorough, not heavy-handed. And, while you’re brushing, give your tongue the once-over as well to help promote fresh breath and remove more bacteria from your mouth.
- Floss: While some people are inclined to skip the flossing element of preventive care, it is incredibly important to floss between your teeth once a day. Flossing helps eliminate any food or plaque that has gathered in the tight spaces between your teeth. And, for braces-wearers especially, it’s important to meticulously clean in between the brackets and wires so that the enamel underneath does not become discolored or develop cavities. Ask your dentist or hygienist to demonstrate the best way to floss your teeth to make sure you’re benefiting as much as possible from this oral health routine.
- See your dentist: Visit your dentist twice a year for a professional tooth cleaning and dental exam. These visits typically include an oral cancer screening. Your dentist will thoroughly review your smile and x-rays to ensure that periodontal disease, decay, or other oral health problems are not brewing under the surface. If there are oral health issues, discovering them sooner rather than later and tending to them immediately will prevent complications from arising or the need for an emergency dental visit.
- Eat well. It’s important to eat a healthy and balanced diet. While of course your mouth is the gateway for food to enter your body, your teeth and gums feel the impact of what you eat as well as your stomach and beyond. Individuals who are suffering with loose, cracked, or broken teeth may be dependent on a diet that is high in starches and carbs, which means they’re eating less protein and fewer crunchy fruits and vegetables, all necessary for a well-rounded, vitamin-rich, nutritious diet. A poor diet will affect your overall health and well-being as well the state of your oral health and the amount of acid and sugars that are swimming around your tooth enamel.
Keeping up with these best oral health practices mean you are less likely to develop cavities, gum disease, or other tooth or gum problems. You are also maintaining your oral health in the best way possible to avoid emergency trips to the dentist.
Special Considerations for Preventive Dental Care
Secondary problems can be caused by poor oral health, including inflammatory issues like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis, and respiratory disease.
Women who are pregnant are at greater risk for developing pregnancy-induced gingivitis. Their gums are more sensitive and bleed more easily, and this is a matter that should be brought to the attention of your dentist immediately, no matter how common it may be as a side effect of carrying a child. Premature birth and low birth weight have been linked to poor oral health in pregnant mothers, and it’s critical for mothers-to-be to be especially diligent about preventive dental care and maintain their regular visits to their dentist for cleanings and exams.
Visit Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez and Dr. Sharon Schmeiser in Miami, Florida, to learn more about preventive dental care and how keeping up with good oral health will benefit you, mouth and body.