Maintaining good oral health is the primary objective of preventive dentistry. This is significant because oral health affects the general health of the person as well. Dental issues and problems range from slight toothache to severe gum diseases, total teeth decay and associated health problems. Keeping these at bay with regular dental consultations, proper oral hygiene practices and following a healthy lifestyle is part of preventive dentistry.
Though there seems to be a lot of areas that are covered under preventive dentistry, an important aspect is that if the oral and dental health is taken care of at home, then future dental issues can be arrested. Oral hygiene simply involves small precautions and practices that one needs to follow. This should start right from childhood and then also be maintained in adult life.
Preventive dentistry: Benefits for all
Preventive dentistry is for all age groups. The benefits from this branch of dentistry cover all age groups. With the help of various preventive procedures tooth decay, gum diseases and other serious dental issues are stopped even before they start.
Preventive dental practices promote good hygiene through brushing and flossing twice a day after meals. It also covers routine dental check-ups, dental cleaning and routine X-rays. If routine dental check-ups are conducted, there are high chances of the dentist noticing any possible dental problems as soon as they come up.
Notice decay before it gets worse
Proactive measures can be taken and the issue can be set right at the initial stages. Even after regular brushing and flossing, many people notice plaque build-up on the teeth. If left unattended without going for professional dental cleaning, there is the possibility of teeth decay. Bacterial action will increase manifold and dental enamel may get eroded. The teeth are vulnerable at this stage and decay is the result. Unattended decay in a tooth can affect neighbouring teeth as well as promote gum diseases by initiating infection in the gums. Polishing of the teeth is another treatment that is part of preventive treatment. This focuses on removing the stains in the teeth. This is sometimes done along with the cleaning of plaque and tartar.
Uncover issues like teeth grinding
During dental consultations, dentists often find out issues like teeth grinding and resulting wear and tear of the teeth. As these actions are unconscious and happen when the person is sleeping, they are usually unaware of the problem. But during dental consultations, there are visible signs that the dentist can find out. Associated with teeth grinding, is the clenching of the teeth and jaws and pain in the neck and jaws. By following the visible signs, dentists can provide treatment.
Improve overall health
As mentioned above, preventive dentistry helps to prevent issues such as tooth decay, gum diseases, periodontitis and other dental problems. Dental health is linked to the overall general health of a person. Other major diseases that are linked to poor oral health are diabetes, respiratory diseases, heart diseases and even cancer. Some complications are seen during pregnancy like low birth weight and even premature delivery due to poor oral health. Hence is it important to have dental consultations during pregnancy to avoid future problems.
Improve lifestyle habits
Food habits and lifestyle are also focused in preventive dentistry. Consuming a lot of sugary food and drinks will erode the protective covering of the teeth. Sugary food tends to stick to the grooves of the teeth and also in between teeth. It is difficult to get rid of them with regular brushing and flossing and will require professional cleaning services at the dental clinic. Smoking and chewing tobacco is another habit that causes damage to the teeth. The protective covering of the tooth is damaged and the decay can spread at a faster rate to the remainder of the teeth. The services are provided at general dental clinics and also at paediatric dental clinics. The latter is focused on preventive dentistry for children.
Treat bad breath
Another common issue that arises due to lack of oral hygiene and habits is bad breath. These usually signal towards underlying dental problems. Tooth decay and infection in the gums can be the cause of this. The build-up of plaque and tartar can also cause bad breath. Connected to the issue of smoking and chewing tobacco which causes a bad odour is the lack of saliva in the mouth. When there is less than optimal saliva, the natural cleaning action does not happen and this results in bad odour emanating from the mouth.
Sealants and Fluoride treatment
Placing sealants is another preventive dentistry treatment that is popular. These are plastic coverings placed on the top of the teeth, on the grooves of the teeth. This is mostly applied to the teeth that are used for chewing, usually the ones at the back of the mouth. This covering will prevent any food particles from sticking to the furrows and ward off any possible tooth decay. The procedure of placing the sealants does not require much time. Dentists will clean the surface of the teeth and then place the sealants and use ultra-violet light to harden it for more protection.
Similar to this procedure, fluoride treatment is also provided. Fluoride offers protection to the teeth, teeth will lose minerals due to wear and tear. The fluoride is re-applied to augment the teeth and also fight off any bacterial action. If it is not a severe issue, then dentists will suggest using a fluoride toothpaste as a treatment procedure. Placing sealants and fluoride treatment is usually recommended for children. Protecting the teeth right when they come out, providing support to the teeth and cutting off any chances of tooth decay is possible with these treatments.
Understanding the different processes and treatment that is possible through preventive dentistry one can see that it helps to fix dental problems at a simpler and faster rate. If they are left unattended, complications will arise and result in more time and money spend on the treatments. Getting a boost to the appearance of the person, providing preventive and proactive procedures are all advantages that can be found in the different procedures offered by preventive dentistry.