The Benefits of Preventive Dental Care

Your oral health is just as important as your physical or mental health, but due to a number of factors, many Americans lack the preventive dental care that they need in order to maintain a healthy mouth.

Everyone benefits from preventive dental care, especially children, so it is important that you brush your teeth twice each day, eat a balanced breakfast, floss daily and engage in routine visits with your dentist. Brushing your teeth is the most important form of preventive dental care, but it is important that you take your time and get a new toothbrush three to four times each year as the bristles begin to fray. Flossing can help you to clean the tight areas between your teeth, but there are specific techniques that can help you to get the most out of your flossing experience.

Eating a balanced diet can help your overall oral health as the nutrients in your meals can either strengthen or weaken your teeth. Finally, routine visits with your dentist are crucial as your dentist can assess your risk for dental problems, catch issues early and provide you tips on preventive care. To learn more about the benefits of preventive dental care, review the sections that have been provided below.

What is Preventive Dental Care?

Preventive dental care refers to the practice of caring for your gums, teeth and overall oral health. Practicing preventive dental care offers a variety of benefits and comes in many forms such as daily brushing, daily flossing and regular visits with your dentist. By practicing preventive dental care, you can avoid the development of more serious dental problems later on such as:

  • Cavities
  • Gingivitis
  • Enamel loss
  • Periodontitis

Preventive dental care is the best way to ensure that you maintain a good oral health.

Who Benefits from Preventive Dentistry?

Everyone benefits from preventive dental care, regardless of age. However, children generally reap the most benefits from preventive care as it allows newly developing adult teeth to come into a child’s mouth strong and healthy.

Oral health is incredibly important to your overall physical health as your mouth can be a breeding ground for harmful germs and bacteria. As an adult, preventive dentistry is incredibly beneficial as it can help you to keep your real teeth as you grow older.

What Are the Benefits of Preventive Dentistry?

By maintaining a good dental hygiene, not only can you reduce your risk for dental related problems such as cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis — but medical studies have shown that poor oral health is linked to a number of health conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Respiratory disease
  • Heart disease
  • Certain cancers
  • Premature and low birth weights

Therefore, by practicing preventive dental care, you may be able to lower your risk for certain chronic conditions.

Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily

Perhaps the most important part of preventive dental care involves brushing your teeth twice daily. When brushing, it is important to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Aim to brush your teeth once you have finished eating and take your time. Generally, you will want to brush up to five seconds on each tooth, while using a downward motion, before moving onto the next tooth. An electric toothbrush can make this task faster and easier. Once you have brushed each tooth, be sure to brush your tongue as doing so can help remove bacteria from your mouth as well as freshen your breath. As your toothbrush’s bristles begin to fray, it is important to replace your toothbrush (or electric toothbrush head) — typically three to four times per year.

Floss Every Day

Dentists recommend daily flossing in order to aid in your efforts to maintain a good oral health. Unlike brushing, you will only need to floss once per day, but you can floss more than once if desired. Flossing is an important step of preventive dental care as it can help you to clean out the tight spaces between your teeth. If you wear braces, you may also need to use floss threaders in order to get between the metal brackets.

In order to get the most out of your flossing, it is important that you floss the correct way. When you next visit your dentist office, ask your dentist for a brief demonstration in order to ensure that you are receiving the full benefit from daily flossing.

Visit Your Dentist for Routine Exams and Cleanings

Generally, you will need to visit your dentist at least one per year for an annual checkup. During your annual exam, your dentist will check for any problems in your teeth or gums as well as perform an annual cleaning. If you are found to have a high risk for dental related problems, your dentist will likely recommend more frequent visits and cleanings. This may be the case if you already have dental conditions such as cavities, receding gums or overall poor oral health. Additionally, if a cavity or any other dental problem is found during your exam, you may need to schedule an additional appointment to get those problems resolved. Dental cleanings and exams are a crucial part of preventive dental care as they can help your dentist to identify problems early and take care of them right away before an issue worsens.

Dental care can be expensive — especially if you do not possess dental insurance. However, the amount of money that you will likely spend on cleanings and at home preventive care methods can save you money in the long run. If you have poor oral health long enough, you could develop more serious problems that may require more costly procedures such as root canals, dental implants and fillings.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Did you know that a balanced diet can help protect your teeth? A variety of nutrients protect and strengthen your teeth where others may harm your teeth and enamel. Therefore, it is important that you eat a balanced diet on a regular basis and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Include simple carbohydrates within your diet and be sure to limit and monitor your sugar intake. Vitamins are also beneficial for overall oral health. Consider a multivitamin if you are not already taking one.

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