Preventive Dentistry

Preventive Dentistry - Dentist Using TechAccording to the American Dental Association, there were a total of 2.1 million emergency visits related to dental conditions in 2017, with tooth decay and periodontal disease being the more common reasons. Dental diseases could be prevented by practicing proper dental care as well as preventive dentistry.

Preventive Dentistry is the action taken by a patient to promote good oral health and a bright smile for years to come. Preventative dentistry can include anything from eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water, daily brushing and flossing, and ensuring you keep up with your twice-yearly check-ups.

Preventive Dental Care

Preventive dental care is a broad term that refers to the preventative dental procedures used to treat dental diseases at an earlier stage. It also includes at-home oral care, including daily brushing, flossing, and chairside treatments by dentists. The goal is to keep your teeth and gums healthy, preventing tooth loss.

What is Considered Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive dentistry can be any number of services provided during your regular visit to prevent future oral health problems.

Here are some examples of preventive dentistry:

  • X rays

X-rays allow dentists to see potential problem areas that your dentist can not see with regular oral exams.

  • Regular Check-ups

It’s important that you regularly visit your dentist for a check-up even if you don’t have any pressing concerns. Since checkups can help spot early signs of cavities and gum diseases, the American Dental Association recommends getting checkups every six months.

  • Dental Cleaning

Brushing cleans the bacteria from your teeth but not always and not as effectively. Dental cleaning, on the other hand, removes the buildup of plaque and bacteria from the teeth and under the gums tissue. Depending on the condition of your teeth, your dentist may suggest cleaning every 6-12 months.

  • Dental Sealants

Sealants are protective coatings that your dentist paints on the chewing surfaces of the molars to prevent the formation of cavities.

  • Fluoride Treatment

The dentist applies fluoride treatments in the form of gel, solution, foam, or varnish to teeth, especially for people with a higher risk of tooth decay or erosion.

Goals of Preventive Dentistry

The goal of preventive care is to maintain oral health through proper hygiene practices and regular dental checkups. With this approach, invasive treatments like fillings are kept to a minimum. It also helps identify early signs of periodontal disease and other debilitating health conditions.

Benefits of Preventive Dental Care

Preventive dental care goes beyond deep cleaning and dental hygiene. Here are a few benefits of preventive care.

  • A dental hygienist can help prevent cavity formation with the help of deep cleaning and sealants.
  • Deep cleaning can also prevent gum diseases. Likewise, with regular visits, your dentist can identify the signs at an early stage and take preventive steps.
  • Bad breath isn’t just about poor hygiene. It can also be a sign of tooth decay or infections. Your dentist can help identify the reasons and treat them.
  • Your dentist can help catch jaw problems like bruxism and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
  • Regular visits can help identify the dental problems early, thereby minimizing costs.
  • Dentists also help promote good oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing.
  • Fluoride strengthens the teeth and fights off bacteria. Your dentist will apply a fluoride treatment on the teeth to combat natural erosion.
  • For children playing sports, dentists can supply a mouth guard to prevent injuries.

Cost of Preventive Dental Care

Preventive Dental Care CostThe cost of preventive dental care for a child costs anywhere from $65-$100 per visit. Fluoride treatments cost $30-$35 per tooth until two years, and a sealant treatment at $35-$40 per tooth.

For an adult of 21 years or older, a regular checkup and cleaning cost $150-$250, and restorative services like root canals, cavity fillings, chipped teeth, resin restorations, etc., cost as much as $750 – $1500 additionally.

A dental plan helps make dental care more affordable over the years.

Importance of Preventive Dentistry

Preventive dentistry is the practice of maintaining good oral health, including dental checkups and teeth cleanings, so that any potential issues are identified and treated earlier on. During your visit, the dentist will examine you for signs of cavities, gum disease, etc., and advice you on preventive dental care.

Here are some of the reasons why preventive dental care is important.

  • A dentist performs a thorough checkup of your teeth and gums, thereby identifying any budding health concern.
  • It is cheaper to have preventive measures taken rather than root canals or teeth reconstruction, which may cost thousands of dollars.
  • Your dental hygienist can guide you with good oral hygiene practices, from a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash to the right technique to clean your teeth.
  • Preventive dental checkups can also help identify health conditions such as diabetes, soft tissue diseases such as oral cancer, etc.

Key Steps in Preventive Dentistry

The key point with preventive dentistry is to do everything within your reach to improve your oral health.

Here are a few steps to help you with preventive care:

  • Eat mindfully and reduce your sugar consumption.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a balanced diet so that your body gets all the nutrients naturally.
  • Dental sealant treatments for children to prevent decay.
  • Fluoride treatments for children under 18 years old.
  • Brush twice a day and floss every day.
  • Make sure you have regular dental checkups and deep teeth cleanings twice a year.

Nutrition and Oral Health

The food that we intake impacts our teeth and gums; A diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, micro, and macronutrients is beneficial for the teeth and the general health of the body. Any imbalance can lead to malnutrition and compromised oral health.

A deficit and an oversupply of the nutrients can lead to:

  • Erosion – A diet rich in phosphoric acid, citric acid, ascorbic acid, tartaric acid, carbonic acid, and malic acid can cause erosion. These acids can be found in soft drinks, wine, fruit juices, herbal teas, etc.
  • Caries – Dental caries or decay happens when your diet is packed with dietary sugars like sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, etc. A high-fiber diet helps in preventing decay by absorbing the sugars.
  • Periodontal disease – Deficiency of nutrients such as calcium, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, and E can cause gum disease.
  • Oral cancer – While cancer is caused by genetic and environmental factors, a diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E, beta carotene, and selenium reduces the risk.

Ways to Improve Your Dental Health

While preventive dental services can go a long way in maintaining dental health, much of the care starts with you. Adopting healthy dental habits at a young age can help you prevent oral problems such as cavities, gum disease, etc.

  • Preventive Dentistry - Ways to Improve Dental HealthKeep your teeth clean by brushing twice a day- morning and night with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Your dentist can recommend the right products and instruct you on the proper technique.
  • Flossing once a day can stimulate the gums and reduce plaque.
  • Clean your tongue every time you brush to prevent the buildup of plaque.
  • Your toothbrush should be soft; stiff bristles can affect your enamel and cause the gums to recede.
  • Incorporate antibacterial mouthwash in your oral health care to rinse out the food particles.
  • Eat a nutritious and balanced meal; cut down on soda and sugary foods.
  • Avoid smoking and using tobacco products.
  • Use a mouthguard when playing contact sports.
  • Ask your dentist for a bite night guard if you happen to grind your teeth at night.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular oral health checkups.

Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health

Oral health is beyond healthy teeth and gums. Poor oral health affects your general health and wellness; A study by the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry states that people with gum diseases were more likely to die from heart disease and stroke.

Oral health care such as brushing your teeth and flossing helps keep the bacteria under control. In the absence of oral care, the bacteria can lead to gum diseases and tooth decay.

Poor oral care may lead to the following health conditions.

  • Diabetes: Diabetic patients with gum diseases were more reliant on insulin. Diabetes can reduce the body’s resistance to infection.
  • Endocarditis: It is the infection of the inner walls of the heart. Bacteria from the other parts of the mouth spreads to the heart through the bloodstream.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Inflammation of the gum tissue is related to heart disease and stroke.
  • Pregnancy and birth complications: Periodontal disease is linked to pregnancy complications, low birth weight, and premature birth.
  • Pneumonia: When the bacteria from the lungs enter the lungs, it results in pneumonia and respiratory diseases.
  • Osteoporosis: Certain drugs used to treat osteoporosis can weaken the jaw.
  • Alzheimer’s: The oral health deteriorates as Alzheimer’s progresses.

Apart from that, medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, painkillers, and antidepressants reduce saliva flow.

Preventive Dentistry for Children

Reports from the CDC state that 40% of US children between the ages of 2-11 and 59% of the children aged 12-19 are affected by dental cavities. Since they are preventable through proper oral hygiene, preventive dentistry has become more critical than ever.

Preventive dental care for children starts as soon as the first tooth breaks out. The sooner you begin preventive dentistry, the more the chances for avoiding oral problems. Visit the dentist before the first birthday. He/she will guide you with proper dental techniques and products.

Preventive Dental Services for Children

Children are more prone to cavities than adults. The candies, juice boxes, and treats are sure to cause havoc on their tender teeth.

Here are the most common preventive dental services available for children:

  • Teeth cleanings:

Food particles can stick between the teeth leading to the formation of plaque. Brushing and flossing though essential is not enough, and you need periodic cleaning of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar, thereby preventing the formation of cavities.

  • Dental Sealants:

A sealant is a transparent material applied to the surfaces of the teeth to prevent the spread of cavities. After the sealant is in place, children can consume food without it sticking to the teeth.

  • Fluoride Treatment:

Fluoride is a mineral known to prevent cavities. The dental hygienist will apply fluoride to the teeth to increase strength.

  • Mouth Guards:

Contact sports can often result in an injury resulting in chipped or broken teeth. Mouthguards are devices custom made to suit the shape of the children’s gums and teeth to protect them from physical contact.

  • Space Maintainers:

Children tend to lose their milk teeth before their permanent ones erupt. The space maintainers help to hold the space open until new ones emerge. These are custom-made for every child.

Preventive Dental Care Provided by Your Insurance Company

Twice a year, dental visits are essential for preventive dental care. However, without a proper dental plan, the cost of the checkups and treatments can add up to astronomical costs.

Most dental insurance plans cover dentistry services such that you do not have to pay or just copays. With co-pays, you pay half the cost for the services while the insurance company pays the other half.

Dental Insurance: Coverage

Preventive Dentistry - Dental & Health Insurance CardsPreventive dental care covered by your insurance plans depends on the dental insurance company. While the below may be a standard indicator, you may want to ask your dentist or the dental provider about your plan.

Most insurance plans cover the following:

  • Dental visits twice a year for oral exams
  • Teeth cleanings twice a year
  • Fluoride treatment, which is mostly plan-dependent
  • Dental sealant, which is also plan-dependent
  • Annual X-rays

Conclusion

Any treatment that helps prevent decay, gum diseases, and other problems are considered preventive dentistry services. It can be anything from regularly brushing your teeth to cleanings, fluoride treatments, mouth guards, and more. Moreover, poor oral health also leads to health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, respiratory diseases, etc.

Most insurance plans cover preventive dental services like dental visits, x-rays, etc. However, you may want to talk to a life insurance provider about your plan and coverage.

Not taking your at-home preventive dental care seriously has its consequences. When someone has poor oral hygiene, this creates a situation where they accumulate plaque build-up around the teeth and gums. This then causes the gums to become red and inflamed. Plaque is filled with bacteria, which is what causes those issues along with tooth decay and gum disease. On top of making sure you take care of these care tasks at home, it’s very important to schedule a meeting with your dentist every six months. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Dalesandro today. He has many years of experience in the field of preventive dentistry.

Other timely articles you may find helpful are:

How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?

How often should i brush my teeth.TLDR: the American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth two times a day with fluoride toothpaste. Implementing a steady routine to clean your teeth aids in the process of removing plaque and other harmful substances which build on the surface of your teeth over time.

Proper dental hygiene plays a critical role in sustaining an overall state of well-being. The question of “how often should I brush my teeth?” may seem simple; however, it’s a little more complicated than you might think. Your diet and daily habits will determine the frequency at which you should brush your teeth for starters.

High risk to dental issues

An example would be those who smoke cigarettes need to brush their teeth more than someone who is smoke-free. This is a true statement as cigarette smoke covers your teeth in harmful substances like tar.
Aside from the frequency at which you brush your teeth, you also need to use the correct brushing method. Applying too much force when brushing your teeth can damage them further. Light and gentle strokes are the best way to clean any food particles or substance build-ups on your teeth.

How often should I brush my teeth?

As per the American Dental Association, you should brush at least twice a day. The timing at which you decide to brush isn’t necessary; however, if you want to brush your teeth after eating, you should wait at least 30 minutes. The recommendation is that you brush before each meal and before bed.

Brushing alone isn’t going to solve your dental hygiene problems. A proper dental hygiene routine consists of first brushing, then flossing, and finally rinsing your mouth out with an antiseptic. Regardless of when you brush your teeth, remember the 30-minute rule.

How long to wait after brushing your teeth

If you brush before you eat, wait 30 minutes until you eat, if you brush after, wait 30 mins before consuming any liquids or solids. In case you’re wondering, alcohol-free mouthwash is best, you should also try to use fluoride toothpaste as much as possible.

To achieve maximum dental health, try to get a professional cleaning at least twice a year. Professional dental cleanings act as a preventative against tooth decay and deterioration.

Making sure your teeth stay white for a long time

Forgetting to brush every once in a while is normal; however, once it becomes a habit, you need to implement strategies to ensure you stay on track. Try to set a timer on your phone to be reminded of when to brush your teeth without having to think about it.

To answer the question is, twice a day minimal. If you can manage to brush your teeth at least three times a day, that’s even better.

People Also Ask

Q: Is brushing your teeth three times a day too much?
A: brushing your meal at least three times a day or after each meal has shows no signs of damage to your teeth. Remember, brushing your teeth hard or roughly can damage you, regardless of the frequency at which you brush them.

Q: Is it OK to brush once a day?
A: While it’s recommended that you brush your teeth at least two times a day, cleaning them once in an adequately timed manner is also acceptable. The more you brush your teeth, the healthier they will become over time, so try to brush them two times a day.

Q: Is it better to brush before or after breakfast?
A: The short answer is before breakfast; this allows your teeth to be cleansed of any build-up before adding more one. If you want to brush after breakfast, wait at least 30 minutes.

Understanding how often should I brush my teeth

Use this article to help stay on top of your oral health to avoid issues like cavity formation, root decay, staining, and more. Brushing your teeth is one of the simplest ways to maintain a healthy mouth and good health in general, don’t take it for granted. Contact Dr. Dalesandro for dental services in Tucson, Arizona.

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What Are the Main Causes of Dental Problems?

Poor oral hygiene is a main cause of dental problems like tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, alveolar bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss. Why Be Concerned About Your Dental and Oral Health?

Maintaining proper dental and oral hygiene is an essential part of your overall health and well-being. Conversely, poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, alveolar bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss. Compromised oral health, especially for an extended period of time, has even been linked with an increased risk of developing other serious health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. With so much at stake, then, how can you protect yourself against the common pitfalls leading to such serious health issues? This article will help answer that question as we consider the most common causes of serious dental issues and how best to avoid them.

Tooth Decay – The ‘Silent’ Epidemic

The CDC notes dental cavities are the most common chronic disease among youth ages 6 to 19 and NBC reports an alarming 91% of American adults between 20 and 64 are affected by tooth decay. Sadly, too many people never even see it coming until it is nearly too late, even when their teeth had been trying to warn them for months. Tooth decay is the softening and eventual breakdown of your tooth enamel — the hard, protective outer layer of your teeth — and refers to the damage of the structure of the tooth caused by acids. This loss of tooth structure is known as acid erosion and occurs when plaque bacteria break down and digest carbohydrates (sugars) in your mouth. If this loss of minerals from the enamel is left untreated, a cavity (small hole in the tooth) can eventually occur. Without professional treatment, these holes tend to grow larger over time and eventually may end up destroying the entire tooth and surrounding tissue.

Main Causes of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

  • Poor Oral Hygiene:  Not brushing your teeth regularly between meals allows a sticky film of bacteria known as plaque to form and build up on your teeth. When left untreated, irreparable damage may be caused to the enamel, and in time may ultimately lead to the permanent loss of gum tissue, bone, and teeth. That is why it is so important to brush your teeth regularly after every meal and floss at least once a day, in order to thoroughly remove all food particles and lingering sugars.
  • Plaque Formation:  When not removed on a regular basis, the plaque adheres to your teeth and continues to build up and harden over time, often turning into a more resistant substance called tartar. Also known as dental calculus, tartar is a crusty deposit that can trap stains on the teeth and cause discoloration. It creates a strong bond that can only be removed by a dental professional. Since sugar attracts harmful bacteria and lowers your mouth’s pH, it is therefore a major contributing factor to tooth decay and strongly recommended that one limits their intake of sugary snacks and drinks.
  • Plaque Bacteria and Acids:  While most of us don’t like to think about or admit it, bacteria naturally live in our mouth and like to hide in our teeth and gums. When harmful bacteria digest the carbohydrates that linger inside the mouth, acid forms to remove essential minerals from the tooth enamel. This destructive process is called demineralization and leaves the tooth exposed to further damage such as a cavity or dental abscess.
  • Chronic Dry Mouth:  Thankfully our mouth has a natural line of defense for demineralization. Saliva helps to constantly reverse this damage by means of a natural process called mineralization. The minerals in your saliva, such as calcium and phosphate, in addition to fluoride from toothpaste and drinking water, help the enamel repair itself by replacing minerals lost during an “acid attack.” If you are prone to or experience dry mouth frequently, click HERE to read about the various remedies proven to alleviate this condition.
  • Poor Diet:  Frequent snacking on foods high in sugar increases the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the dissolving effects of various acids, which make them more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Because of their high nutritional value and added teeth-cleaning benefits, some of the best foods to snack on are fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as calcium-rich foods to promote strong teeth and bones. Chewing on crunchy vegetables, such as carrots and celery, helps get the salivary juices flowing, which in turn helps wash away plaque-causing bacteria and food particles.
  • Smoking & Tobacco Use: Tobacco use in any form — cigarettes, pipes, and smokeless (chewing) tobacco — raises your risk for gum disease, including severe gum disease called periodontitis. In fact, smokers have twice the risk for gum disease compared with a nonsmoker. Smoking weakens your body’s immune system, thus making it considerably less effective in fighting off infections such as gum and tooth infections. Once you have gum damage, smoking also makes it harder for your gums to heal.
  • Medical Problems:  Some types of cancer treatment that expose the head and neck to radiation can promote a tooth cavity by changing the makeup of the saliva to promote increased bacterial growth.

Now that we’ve thoroughly covered the main causes of dental problems and how best to avoid them, we can better appreciate that maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a very essential, lifelong commitment. The earlier you learn proper oral hygiene habits — such as brushing, flossing, and limiting your sugar intake — the easier it will be to avoid costly dental procedures and long-term health issues in the future. Applying the aforementioned recommendations not only promotes your overall health and well-being, but it also helps improve the quality of your life now and many years to come!

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