Preventive Care – Of Great importance in keeping your teeth and mouth healthy
Ideally you want to keep your teeth your whole life and you want them to be healthy and pain-free.
Your teeth and mouth are a part of your body and need correct care, just like the rest of your body.
A few people are lucky and have good teeth but most people who have good teeth take good care of them.
The best way to ensure that your teeth stay healthy and that you have less pain is to get preventive care at your dentist.
A regular check up with the dentist or hygienist is what we recommend. At least once a year or preferably every 6 months. Your dentist will let you know how often.
What does preventive care consist of?
- A regular check-up to evaluate the condition of your teeth and gums. This could include x-rays.
- A cleaning of the teeth, if needed to remove tartar (hardened plaque) and excess plaque.
- Dental hygiene instructions if needed.
- Dietary advice .
Why is a check-up important?
The dentist or hygienist will look at your teeth to see if there are any holes or other problems in the teeth that need attention. If you go for regular check-ups holes can be caught before they become much larger. A neglected cavity can eventually lead to a nasty infection, toothache and possibly the loss of the tooth altogether.
During the check-up the condition of your gums will be assessed and the dentist will check for plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth. A special assessment method is used. This is very important as these factors are the main problems that can lead to tooth loss.
Cleaning of the teeth
This is VERY important in preventive care and here is why:
1. To Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place and is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. If diagnosed early, it can be treated and reversed. If treatment is not received, a more serious and advanced stage of gum disease may follow. Regular dental cleanings and check ups, flossing daily and brushing twice a day are key factors in preventing gum disease.
2. To Help Maintain Good Physical Health
Recent studies have linked heart attacks and strokes to gum disease, resulting from poor oral hygiene. A dental cleaning every 6 months helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy and could possibly reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes.
3. To Keep Your Teeth
Since gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults, regular dental check- ups and cleanings, brushing and flossing are vital to keeping as many teeth as you can. Keeping your teeth means better chewing function and ultimately, better health.
Here is how it works:
What is tartar?
Tartar (hardened plaque) attaches itself to your teeth in places where you haven’t been with a toothbrush, floss or a toothpick. It is a stony deposit that is formed by saliva on places which have not been properly cleaned. You cannot remove this tartar with a tooth brush as it is very hard, it has to be removed by a hygienist or dentist with the proper instruments. (Fig . 2)
Why is tartar bad?
Then comes the problem: bacteria attaches itself to the tartar and thrives, they reproduce like rabbits. The body then goes into action and sends its “soldiers” from the immune system and a sort of “battlefield” is created. The battlefield is on your gums, it starts to bleed and the jaw bone starts to get eroded. The trouble is that this stage is barely noticeable except sometimes you may see blood after biting into an apple. This stage is gum disease also known as periodontitis. Once this phase is reached where tartar is far under the gum line a parodontal handling is needed which is no longer prevention but curative treatment. (Fig. 3)
What can happen if the tartar is not removed?
This process can go on for years without you noticing very much. Until one day you notice that a tooth moves a bit, this is because it’s no longer held so firmly in the jaw bone. At a certain point the tooth can become so loose that it can no longer be saved. (fig. 4)
This is why your dentist or hygienist will remove tartar if he sees it during each check up.
If there is tartar build-up or a lot of plaque (the yellow film of bacteria that accumulates on teeth and eventually becomes tartar), CLEANING AND HYGIENE INSTRUCTIONS will be given in order to prevent the tartar from forming again. Sometimes it is necessary to repeat these instructions in order to ensure that the patient really understands what needs to be done.
Why Dietary Advice?
A person’s diet and eating and drinking habits can directly influence the condition of the body and the mouth and teeth. We strongly suggest that you get an evaluation from one of our hygienists to see if some improvements can be made. Supplements can be an added assistance in improving the health of the mouth and we can advise you on these also. This is especially important for children to set them off on the right path for good dental health.