When you picture going to the dentist, what do you associate with it? It’s usually about getting cleanings, an exam, and perhaps a filling. Preventive dentistry is a part of general dentistry. This type of dentistry helps to reduce minor problems before they become serious problems. It also prevents problems from ever starting. Continue reading if you are curious about preventive dentistry and why it is so important.
What is preventive dentistry?
Preventive dentistry is the prevention of problems from developing. Preventive dentistry also includes preventing minor issues from becoming major ones. A dentist or dental hygienist who focuses on preventive dentistry will work with you to maintain your teeth. It usually includes routine cleanings, tips, and recommendations on toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as flossing and brushing. Small cavities can often be detected early and treated before they become more severe.
Your dentist will perform a checkup to remove plaque from your teeth. We also look for potential cavities and other problems that can be easily treated. We’ve already mentioned that cavities can grow bigger and cause damage to deeper layers of your teeth if they are left untreated. Further decay can cause severe pain, infection, or even tooth loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular visits to your dentist and good flossing habits are your best defense against tooth decay and cavities. At River Oak Dental, we recommend that you visit your dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning and exam, but your dentist will advise on the frequency that is best for your individual oral health.
How to Prevent Cavities & Tooth Decay
There are many ways to prevent tooth decay and cavities. When you visit our dental office in Palm Bay, FL, we will help you create the best oral hygiene plan for your situation. We will also help you choose the right toothpaste, toothbrush, or fluoride-containing mouthwash. A dental hygienist from our team would be delighted to show you the optimal way to brush and floss your teeth.
Flossing should be as important as brushing your teeth. It helps to remove food particles and plaque from the teeth. Brushing should be done in gentle circular motions and brushing and flossing should be done at least twice daily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you throw away your toothbrush and get a new one every three to four months. A fluoride-containing mouthwash is also recommended. Fluoridated mouthwash reduces the acidity in your mouth. Fluoridated mouthwash can also be used to clean difficult-to-reach areas and remineralize your teeth.
You can also prevent tooth decay and cavities by changing your diet. Sugary and acidic foods can cause tooth decay and erode teeth. We recommend that you limit your intake of these foods. However, acidic teas, coffees, and citrus fruits can also cause cavities. Drinking moderate amounts of these beverages will reduce the negative impacts on your teeth. We recommend adding crunchy fruits and vegetables to your diet since they are good for your overall health and great for your teeth. Drinking water after every meal is a great way to remove acidic and sticky foods between brushings.
The Importance and Effectiveness of Fluoride
It is important to remember that fluoride is crucial for preventive dentistry because it is vital for the health of your teeth and the prevention of cavities. Multiple studies have shown that fluoride is effective in protecting teeth for more than three decades. In 2016, a study found that children and teens who regularly used fluoride mouthwashes reduced the number of permanent cavities that developed. A journal article in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showed that fluoride toothpaste was not enough to reduce cavities. Research also has shown the addition of fluoride to water is not sufficient.
Both toothpaste and fluoride-containing mouthwashes are recommended. We’re happy to offer recommendations when you visit River Oak Dental, whether it’s for a regular checkup or a first-time appointment.
Use Dental Sealants to Prevent Cavities
In addition to the wonderful tips and advice above, dental sealants are a great way to prevent cavities. It is recommended that teens and children get sealants as early as possible to avoid tooth decay developing in the pits and fissures of their teeth. Fissures are natural grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth. Pits, which are small depressions on the chewing surfaces of molars, also occur naturally. Sealants are beneficial for all ages and can last several years.
What are dental sealants exactly? Sealants are made of a composite resin, which acts as a coating on the teeth. Sealants are used to seal deep and difficult-to-reach fissures and pits in teeth. Sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of back molars, which are difficult to clean with a toothbrush. The sealant acts as a barrier to prevent food particles and plaque from getting into these areas. The sealant protects enamel against mineral-eating acids that often accompany plaque.
In 2010, a study found that dental sealants are more effective in preventing cavities than fluoride varnish. The results showed that pit and fissure sealants were significantly more effective than fluoride varnish applied every six months.
It is quick and straightforward to have sealants applied. The coating will be applied to the chewing surface during your visit. It will then bond and harden. Sealants last for many years, which is one of their best features. They will be checked by your dentist at your biannual exam and reapplied if necessary.
Preventive Dentistry Services at River Oak Dental
If you have recently been searching for a “dentist near me,” look no further! River Oak Dental is Palm Bay’s best dentist. But don’t take our word for it; hundreds of happy patients back up our reputation. You don’t even need to live in Palm Bay, FL. Patients come from all over central Florida. River Oak Dental’s Dr. Lilly Marshall is not only a friendly, knowledgeable dentist; her extensive training and experience place her in the top 3% of dentists in the nation.
River Oak Dental is committed to your oral health. Our team is well-versed in the most recent dental procedures, including minimally invasive dentistry techniques. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 321-723-2620 or send a message. All of our new patient information can be found online. We offer a range of preventive dentistry services, including routine cleanings, exams, sealants, and oral cancer screenings.