When it comes to going to the dentist, prevention is usually better than the cure. That’s why preventive dentistry is so important — by spending just a few extra minutes a day taking care of your teeth, you can stave off or even avoid entirely the unpleasant experience of having a cavity or gum disease.
Preventive dentistry is exactly what it says on the tin — by preventing tooth problems before they happen, you get to enjoy a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth without too much intervention.
While regular visits to the dentist help ensure that you maintain optimum oral health, preventive dentistry starts at home, and if possible, at an early age. Instilling good habits in children to promote proper oral hygiene is half the battle won.
Read on to find out more about how to keep your pearly whites in tip-top condition!
Brush your teeth at least twice a day
It goes without saying that you should brush your teeth twice a day. Most of us do it once in the morning shortly after waking up, and then again at night just before going to bed.
You need only two items: a suitable soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste (cup optional). They should be replaced every 3 months or when the bristles start to fray.
If you are unsure about the best type of toothbrush and toothpaste for your needs, feel free to ask your dentist for recommendations. They can even teach you how to brush your teeth properly and thoroughly if you need a refresher course!
Flossing is an oft-overlooked part of daily dental hygiene. However, flossing is crucial to preventive dentistry — it is the most foolproof way of getting out the food that gets stuck between your teeth.
Left unchecked, food stuck to the teeth and in crevices in the mouth can turn into plaque, which is the root cause of many oral health issues. In fact, neglecting to remove plaque can lead to tartar buildup, which is a hard yellow-brown deposit on the tooth that requires a visit to the dentist to remove.
As with brushing your teeth, you can ask your dentist to demonstrate how to floss quickly and effectively if you are not sure how to.
Think of mouthwash as the dessert of a three-course meal. After brushing your teeth and flossing, mouthwash rounds off the process neatly by rinsing out leftover food particles after flossing while freshening up your breath. If you are using a fluoride rinse, it even protects your teeth against plaque!
However, do note that mouthwash is not an acceptable substitute for the two steps above it. They work together as a whole team to keep your teeth healthy, so no shortcuts allowed.
Visit the dentist once every 6 months
When it comes to dental health, the experts still know best. Making that biannual visit to your dentist might seem intimidating, but most dentists would be happy to see strong and healthy teeth that are well cared for.
Other preventive dentistry tips
While your daily oral hygiene routine goes a long way, there are other steps that can be taken to keep your teeth healthy.
For example, maintaining a balanced diet and fulfilling the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals provides your teeth with the nutrients they need.
Limit your intake of acidic and sugary foods as they can harm tooth enamel, and be careful while eating certain types of hard food such as bones, seeds, or pits as they could chip your teeth.
Aside from developing stained teeth due to nicotine exposure, smoking and tobacco usage can also increase your likelihood of contracting gum disease.
Preventive dentistry is a wonderful habit to develop, and maintaining healthy oral habits from a young age can mean a lifetime of happily chowing down on your favourite food without needing frequent trips to the dentist.