Oral Preventive Hygiene: What is it and why it's SO important!
Preventive hygiene is the practice of maintaining good oral hygiene through diet, brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups. It helps to stop the progression of periodontal disease and other oral conditions, as well as keep your mouth feeling fresh and healthy. Not only is preventive hygiene important for adults, but it’s especially important for children!
Preventive oral hygiene is critical in maintaining good overall health, yet many people don’t fully understand what it entails or why it’s so important. So what exactly should everyone be doing in order to take preventive action against cavities, gum disease, and other oral problems? From proper oral healthcare routines to a well-balanced diet, this article will explain all there is to know about preventive dental care and its long-term benefits.
What is oral preventive hygiene?
Preventive oral hygiene refers to practices and procedures that help people reduce their risk of developing oral diseases, such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. This includes regular dental checkups, the use of fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush, flossing daily, limiting or avoiding sugary snacks, and avoiding smoking and other tobacco products. Practicing good oral preventive hygiene can go a long way toward protecting your teeth and gums for years to come.
The Importance of Preventive Dentistry
The importance of preventive care cannot be overstated. Regular dental checkups and preventive hygiene practices can help to detect and prevent the progression of oral diseases, such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Preventive care also helps to maintain a healthy mouth by removing plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. Most people don’t realize that poor oral health can also lead to a number of other health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Here are just a few things that preventive care does for you and your dental health.
- Reduces your risk for dental disease and oral cancer, as well as prevents pain associated with it.
- Prevents loss of teeth and maintains healthy gums.
- Detects oral problems at early stages, when they are most treatable.
- Preserves your natural teeth and the beauty of your smile.
- Decreases the need for extensive and costly dental treatment in the future.
Common Preventive Dental Care Services
Dental cleanings are one of the most important preventive dental services. During a dental cleaning, a dentist or hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth, as well as polish them to remove any surface stains. This helps to prevent cavities and gum disease while also keeping your mouth feeling fresh and healthy. Professional cleanings should be done at least twice a year or more often if recommended by your dentist.
Fluoride treatments are another important preventive dental care service. Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. During a fluoride treatment, a dentist or hygienist will apply a special fluoride gel to your teeth, which helps to remineralize and protect them from decay. Fluoride treatments are usually done once a year or more often if recommended by your dentist.
X-rays are a very helpful tool when it comes to preventive dental care. X-rays allow dentists to detect problems that may not be visible during a regular exam, such as cavities, gum disease, and impacted teeth. X-rays can also help to diagnose other oral health issues, such as jaw misalignment or cysts. During a routine visit, your dentist may recommend taking x-rays to check for any potential problems. These are usually taken once a year.
Tooth sealants are a great way to protect your teeth from cavities. Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars and premolars. This helps to prevent food particles and bacteria from getting stuck in the grooves of your teeth, which can lead to cavities. Dental sealants can last up to 10 years but should be checked during regular dental visits to make sure they are still intact.
Screenings for Gum Disease and Oral Cancer
Gum disease and oral cancer are two serious conditions that can have devastating effects on your oral health. Regular screenings for these conditions can help to detect them early when they are most treatable. During the screening, your dentist will look for signs of gum disease or oral cancer, such as redness, swelling, or lumps in the mouth. If any of these signs are present, your dentist may recommend further testing or treatment.
How to Maintain Good Oral Health at Home
Preventive dental care starts with you and maintaining good oral hygiene habits at home. Here are some of the basics for keeping your smile healthy and clean:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months to ensure proper brushing.
- Floss regularly and clean between your teeth.
- Drink plenty of water, and limit sugary drinks and snacks.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco products.
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
Schedule a Dental Checkup Today!
Preventive dental care is essential for maintaining healthy teeth. Regular checkups and preventive hygiene practices can help to detect and prevent the progression of oral diseases while also preserving your natural teeth and the beauty of your smile.
If you are in need of a dental checkup or cleaning, give our office a call today to schedule an appointment with a member of our dental team. We offer a variety of preventive services that can keep your smile healthy for years to come.
Dr. Marilyn Jones - Houston Biological Dentist
A graduate from the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School where she received her Doctor of Dental Surgery, Dr. Jones holds a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Houston. She is a passionate, skilled, and talented dental surgeon with a drive for excellence.
While previously being a tenured Assistant Professor of chemistry & an Assistant Professor of integrative dentistry, Dr. Jones continues to educate and update herself on the modern approaches and practices of dentistry and related advances in healthcare to ensure that she delivers the best possible care and service to her patients.