Preventative dentistry is all about stopping problems before they actually occur. Taking care of your oral health can actually impact your overall health – meaning it’s about more than just a beautiful smile.
And if that’s the case, it’s about more than just brushing.
Too many people aren’t doing enough to prevent the onset of cavities, halitosis, and other dental problems. If you follow these steps, though, you can keep a great, healthy smile and avoid all those long, unwanted treatments that can cost a lot of money.
Before we get into the list of preventative steps, it is important to mention that there are a lot of different factors that affect your oral health. These elements can be different for everyone, and include things such as what you eat, how much and what kind of saliva is in your mouth, whether you’re taking certain medications, and your general health and hygiene routine.
As a pre-step to this process, make sure you understand your own current situation and how it might impact your routine. Do you have dentures that need special care? Are you pregnant? Do you experience constant dry mouth? All of these things matter, so keep them in mind as you go through these steps.
Step 1 – Perfect Your At-Home Routines
You’ve heard all this before, and you’re going to hear it all again. Prevention starts at home, and that means:
- Brushing at least twice a day
- Flossing every day
- Using dental products with fluoride
- Using anti-bacterial mouthwash
The key to this step is commitment. Set up a routine that you can follow and make sure that you are 100% committed to it every day.
Step 2 – Limit (or Optimize) Your Snacking
Snacks that are high in simple sugars tend to stick to your teeth, giving bacteria plenty to feed on and create plaque. This is the first step toward your next cavity, so the less you expose your teeth to them the better.
Of course, snacking isn’t always a bad thing. Eating small portions throughout the day can actually be beneficial for your metabolism. So when you do reach for a snack, reach for something that is high in vitamins and minerals. It will spare your teeth and improve your health.
Step 3 – Avoid Teeth Staining Food and Beverages
Some of our favorite foods and beverages can be harsh on our teeth. Wine, coffee, soda and sports drinks have chemicals that quickly discolor teeth. Some of them (wine and soda) also have acids that add to the potential for more cavities. So if you can’t avoid them completely, be sure to brush or rinse after you have them.
Step 4 – Pay Attention to Your Mouth
If you are on the road to potential dental problems, there will be signs that trouble is imminent. You can examine your mouth in the mirror, keeping an eye out for swollen gums, discolored teeth, excessive bleeding while brushing, and any sores or lesions on the soft tissues. Make a note of any concerns and bring it up on your next visit.
Step 5 – Set (and Keep) Regular Dental Appointments
Your regular dental checkups are the most important part of preventative dentistry. This is when we’ll be able to spot any problems while they’re still small and correct them before they get out of hand. You can get a professional cleaning to make sure that all of that plaque is removed, and we’ll check for high-risk oral diseases, too.
Keeping your teeth healthy and beautiful is a lifelong process, but it’s never too late to get started. If you’ve let some of these habits slip, there’s no better time than the present to recommit to an oral hygiene routine and work to restore your smile.