Preventive dental care is simply the steps to keep dental problems from ever occurring or occurring again.What Are the Benefits of Preventive Dentistry?
The body is a highly interconnected complex machine. With good dental hygiene, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and other dental problems.
Some health problems that may be linked to poor oral health are:
Diabetes: a widespread problem with diabetes is periodontitis (gum disease). Diabetics are at a higher risk for gum disease because of a lack of blood sugar control. According to the ADA, approximately 22% of diabetics have gum disease. Furthermore, the plaque in your mouth uses sugar to produce the acid that burns through enamel.
Heart Disease: Those with gum disease have a higher risk of heart disease. This is caused by the bacteria in the mouth entering the bloodstream and ending up in the heart. In an article from the American Heart Association, there is a link between inflammation caused by oral bacteria to stroke and clogged arteries.
Respiratory Disease: In a piece published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology, there is a hypothesis that bacteria from gum disease can be breathed directly into the lungs leading to pneumonia. Another hypothesis is that salivary enzymes associated with gum disease alter respiratory mucosal surface, enhancing its adhesion. The enhanced adhesion increases the likelihood for infection via aspirating pathogens.
Osteoporosis: This is a condition where bones become more brittle. In the case of oral health, the loss of density in the jaw bone results in tooth loss. An x-ray of the mouth can be used as a screening tool for this condition.
Cancer: Cancer treatment affects the entire body. The ADA states that "An unhealthy mouth can increase the risk of developing side effects to cancer therapies and can even interfere with treatment". To maintain a healthy mouth, they recommend: twice a day brushing, daily flossing, and avoiding mouthwashes that contain alcohol. A possible side effect of cancer treatment is dry mouth. Asking your dentist for artificial saliva to help wash away food particles will help in maintaining good oral health. Also, maintaining good hydration will not only help your oral health but your overall health.
Here are some things you can do to prevent dental problems:
- Dental examinations
- Dental x-rays
- Teeth cleaning
- Topical Fluoride Treatment
- Space Maintainers
- Tooth Sealants
Dental Examinations: The American Dental Associations (ADA) suggests going to see your dentist every six months. Getting a check-up is the best way to get the information you need to keep your teeth healthy. During your check-up, the dental hygienist will examine your teeth for cavities, excess plaque, and the overall status of your mouth.
Dental X-rays: Getting an x-ray will give your dentist and in turn you, more insight on what is happening in your mouth. In children, dental imaging can help keep track of tooth development. In that, it can show whether the teeth are going to erupt in the right place. In both adults and children, x-rays can show any cavities that may have been missed during the examination.
Teeth Cleaning: The dental hygienist will deep clean your teeth, which helps to get rid of the plaque that causes cavities. The deep cleaning includes: scrapping off tartar (hardened plaque), high-powered electric brushing, and flossing.
Topical Fluoride Treatment: This will help fortify the teeth by remineralizing the enamel. The remineralization will increase the enamel’s resistance to the acid produced by plaque.
Space Maintainers: From what has been said above, space maintainers are exactly that, they maintain the space. There are several reasons a child might need space maintainers. One is that a baby tooth was lost prematurely, and the permanent tooth is not ready to erupt. The purpose of the maintainer is to make sure there is a slot for the future tooth to erupt in proper alignment.
Tooth Sealants: If a hole (cavity) is found, the dentist might use a tooth sealant to fill the gap deterring further decay. Sealants are commonly applied to the premolars and molars. With proper care, sealants are estimated to last up to 10 years. Although, sealants will wear away over time, so you might need to get them replaced before the 10-year mark.
Preventive Dental Care in Oxford
Lee Family Dentistry offers a wide range of Preventive Dental Services in Oxford and Senatobia MS. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.