Preventative dentistry is the easiest way to protect your mouth against tooth decay, gum disease and other, more serious issues, such as mouth cancer.
There are an array of different dental treatments available for these issues. However, prevention will always be quicker, easier and cheaper than a cure. Looking after your teeth and maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle will help to keep your oral hygiene in check.
What are the Basic Principles of Preventative Dentistry?
The two core principles of preventative dental care should co-exist simultaneously for the best results. The first principle is establishing an oral hygiene routine at home. This means regularly cleaning your teeth and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This should then be combined with routine check-ups with your dentist and a deep dental hygienist clean every six months.
How to Brush your Teeth
- Begin by cleaning your teeth and gum line with dental floss, tape, interdental or single tufted brushes
- Make sure you are brushing for 2 minutes at a time using dentist approved methods to remove plaque effectively
- Use fluoridated toothpaste with at least 1350ppm fluoride unless your dentist has advised differently
- Spit your toothpaste out after brushing but do not rinse your mouth – this will damage your fluoride concentration
- Brush your tongue at the end
Remember, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Ideally, this should be in the morning and then again last thing at night.
How Does Lifestyle Affect Oral Health?
Diet, alcohol and smoking can all affect your oral health. That is why maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is a crucial principal of preventative dental care. For the benefit of your oral and overall health, we recommend following the Eatwell Guidelines.
Of course, we all like sugary treats from time to time but you should try to reduce your intake where possible. It is particularly important to avoid or reduce your intake at night, as this is when your saliva flow is at its lowest and, therefore, your buffering capacity is lost, and the sugar will go straight to your teeth.
Some sugary food and drink like sweets and fizzy drinks are obvious. However, it’s important to remember that some ‘healthy’ food and drink like honey, fruit and smoothies all contain cariogenic sugars as well.
Alcohol can still be enjoyed in moderate (recommended) levels but try to be mindful of additional factors, such as fizzy spirit mixers.
Lastly, as with all areas of health, smoking is extremely harmful. Not only does it highly increase your chances of getting mouth cancer, it also increases the risk of periodontal disease, reduces the benefits of treatments, increases your chances of losing teeth and will also cause your teeth stain.
How can my Dentist Help?
Visiting your dentist and hygienist every 6 months will enable your dentist to either stop or prevent any dental issues before they develop further.
At the Kensington Dentist we follow the Government recommended Delivering Better Oral Health Tool Kit. We also recommend routine dental check-ups for all our clients. Creating this sort of relationship with our clients allows us to become familiar with each patient’s unique situation. This sort of familiarity allows us to spot any teeth that may be becoming weak before the issue develops and requires extensive treatment.
Following your check-up with our dentists, our hygienists will thoroughly clean and polish your teeth. They will then provide personalised advice for client’s looking to maintain this level of cleanliness at home.
Is There Anything Else I Can Do?
Following the basic principles of preventative health care set out above should stand you in good stead for maintaining a good oral hygiene routine.
However, there are some other steps you can take to help prevent tooth loss, decay and gum disease:
- Use a straw when drinking fizzy drinks
- Try to avoid eating the first hour after brushing your teeth
- Use an electric toothbrush if possible
- Chew sugar free gum if you regularly chew chewing gum
- Use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw
For more advice on preventative dental care, or to book a routine check-up, please get in touch with us online today or call us on 02072211680.
Photo Credit: Isaiah McClean