We’ve all heard the phrase “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” While this in itself isn’t true, the meaning behind it is. Preventative dental care is essential to keeping your teeth and gums healthy throughout your life.
Just like maintaining a healthy diet and regularly exercising, good oral health can actually improve your general health as well.
In fact, studies from the American Dental Association (ADA) show just how crucial preventative dental care is for the overall health of an individual. This is why many preventative services are covered by dental insurance.
Read on to learn what preventative dentistry is and why it’s so important for a healthier life.
What Is Preventative Dentistry?
Preventative dentistry is the dental care of your teeth that helps maintain good oral health. It is a combination of several different factors, such as:
- Regular dental visits
- Teeth cleanings
- Daily brushing
- Avoiding smoking or chewing tobacco
- Good oral hygiene habits
These practices can help you take good care of your teeth throughout the course of your life. Preventive dentistry is essential in maintaining your dental health because it spots problems, like gingivitis, before it progresses into periodontal disease. Even though they may not seem like big concerns, if left untreated, bacteria and disease can run rampant, leading to pain and possibly permanent damage to the mouth.
So, what sort of dental services do you need to create a healthy smile?
Common Preventive Dentistry Services
Scheduling necessary preventative dentistry services is just as important as yearly physicals to help maintain good overall health. In fact, the American Dental Organization acknowledges how vital these services are to preventing tooth decay, protecting tooth enamel, and maintaining good oral health conditions. If you visit your dentist regularly, there are different services you will get that make up preventive dentistry, such as:
Regular Teeth Cleanings
Regular teeth cleanings are the key to preventive dentistry. If left unchecked, plague and tarter would build up around your teeth, weaken the enamel, cause bad breath, and diminish your overall oral health. Avoid this by getting your teeth cleaned, twice a year, at your dentist appointment.
X-rays allow your dentist to see through the tissue in your mouth to get a comprehensive understanding of your jaw and teeth health. They can show past the tooth surface to reveal early warning signs of dental problems, oral diseases, and other health conditions. Normally only bitewing X-rays are covered by insurance, so it’s best to check with your provider before you visit the dentist’s office.
Oral Exams Every Six Months
Regular oral exams provide an opportunity to get all the tarter, bacteria, and plaque deep cleaned out of your mouth. But there is so much more to an oral exam than simply cleaning services. Dentists and dental hygienists check all around the mouth to see how the gums, teeth, and even jaw movements look. They can analyze any issues, check for tooth sensitivity or tooth decay or gum disease, and then make a recommended dental plan for treatment.
Different dental insurance plans will allow different dental procedures, so it’s always a good idea to double check with your provider to see which preventive dental services are covered to help maintain good oral health.
Ways to Take Care of Your Teeth
Dental professionals agree that there are plenty of good oral health habits you can create that will fend off disease and lead to a healthy mouth. Check out some ideas below:
- Limit sugary beverages and acidic foods to avoid enamel erosion.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth daily to remove food particles in-between teeth before they develop into plaque buildup.
- Be wary about chewing on hard candies, bones, or seeds so you don’t break a tooth.
- Don’t use any form of tobacco since it can lead to oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay, and stained teeth.
- If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about getting a mouth guard to reduce pain and damage.
All of these are great ways to protect your own teeth and maintain a healthy smile. Combining good habits with professional cleaning should be a standard in your dental plan.
The Benefits of Preventative Dentistry
Of course, keeping your teeth clean and healthy is something we’re told from a very young age. But what can happen if we don’t take those preventative measures? Well, more than just cavities can happen. Neglecting your preventative dental care can cause:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay and cavities
- Bad breath
- Expensive dental bills
All of these are valid reasons to keep up with regular dental cleanings and exams. But there are other benefits, too! When you have a healthy mouth, you’re also more likely to:
- Have improved overall health
- Boost your self-esteem
- Eat and speak properly
- Achieve better oral hygiene
Preventative dentistry is vital for maintaining good oral health, but also for your self-confidence and general well-being. So don’t wait to schedule that next dentist appointment!
Who Should You Visit for Preventative Dentistry?
There are many different types of dentists who specialize in certain dental health areas. Knowing who to see for each issue is essential for receiving the care you need.
In general, there are two primary dentist categories that specialize in preventive dentistry services:
- General dentist
- Pediatric dentist
Your general dentist will cover all preventive dental care services to help prevent tooth decay and good overall health. They can also keep track of the health of your natural teeth to see if you show any signs of dental disease that need to be addressed.
A pediatric dentist is only for kids and can help see children through their teen years. A lot of the preventive care they provide will be focused on regular teeth cleanings, removing plaque buildup, offering help to reduce cavities, as well as performing extractions and fillings. Fluoride treatments are also included in children’s preventive services.
If you end up getting gum disease or have more severe issues, you may need to see a dental specialist such as:
- A Periodontist who helps treat and repair gum disease. They will treat the gum tissues damaged from progressive gum disease, while the general dentist mostly works on prevention.
- An Endodontist who specifically works with issues of the tooth nerves. They may be the ones to perform a necessary root canal.
- An Oral Surgeon who performs surgery as it relates to teeth, jaw, and the throat.
- Prosthodontists who repair teeth and jaw issues as well as cosmetic dental surgery like implants.
Step Up Your Preventive Dental Care
From regular cleanings to consistent oral health habits, and everything in-between, there are many wonderful ways to incorporate preventative dentistry into your dental care plan. By keeping your teeth healthy, limiting surgery foods, and getting ahead of issues before they become worse, you can help prevent decay and other dental problems.
At Wayzata Dental, our team is ready and willing to help you safeguard your smile. Dr. McDowell strives to implement the latest technology to improve the patient experience. Some of the main preventative services provided include regular teeth cleanings, radiation-free cavity detection, mouth guards, X-rays, and drill-free laser dentistry.
If any issues are discovered, he will create a dental and health care plan to best address concerns, discuss treatment options, and provide care to boost your smile.
Stop postponing your next dentist visit. Schedule your checkup appointment with the professionals at Wayzata Dental to start seeing the advantages of preventive dental care.