You’ve heard it since you were young – take good care of your teeth. However, somewhere along the line from childhood to adulthood, it’s easy to become a bit lax when it comes to dental care. Why do you need to practice good oral hygiene? Although visiting a dentist when you experience dental pain or notice a troubling symptom (like bleeding gums) is crucial, the foundation of a healthy mouth begins with preventative care. Any time your tooth receives even a small filling, you are putting it at a higher risk for future invasive dental procedures, such as a root canal or even tooth removal. Invest in your overall health by recognizing the importance of preventative dental care, and ask your oral hygienist for help along the way.
The Importance of Preventative Dental Care
What Is Preventative Dental Care?
Preventative dentistry is the practice of properly caring for teeth to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues. It involves several different tasks, including brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and scheduling regular appointments with your dentist. With a little effort on your part, you can maintain a healthy smile, avoid spending money on expensive repairs, and enjoy peace of mind.
How can you protect your teeth? For starters, you should spend two or more minutes brushing your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristle brush. If you want to kick it up a notch, invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer feature, which will help you remember to keep brushing for the full two minutes. Electric toothbrushes also prevent you from brushing too hard, which can cause gum problems. Next, you should floss your teeth at least once a day and rinse with mouthwash. Finally, visit your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and dental examinations. Your dentist can spot potential problems early and take action. In some cases, the problem can be repaired immediately, before it escalates (filling a cavity, for example). In other cases, your dentist or hygienist may simply warn you of a potential problem and offer advice (to brush more softly, for example, to prevent receding gums).
In many cases, dental restorative care procedures, such as fillings, crowns, extractions, root canals, and implants, are a sign of failed preventative care. When patients avoid scheduling dental cleanings and fail to properly care for their teeth at home, the likelihood that they will need restorative care increases (source).
Ask Your Dental Hygienists for Advice
Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals who are licensed to provide patients with educational and clinical services. By promoting oral health, they can even enhance your overall health (source). Your dental hygienist’s main goal is to eliminate your need for restorative care. These professionals play an essential role in providing routine cleaning, early detection of diseases, and ongoing patient education.
What many patients do not realize is that dental hygienists are often very knowledgeable advisors in both preventative care and cosmetic dentistry. Their job is similar to that of a primary care provider, while a dentist’s job is similar to that of a medical specialist. In addition to teaching you about the importance of preventative dental care, dental hygienists can perform a variety of other tasks:
- These professionals are responsible for assessing your overall oral health, especially the health of your gums.
- Dental hygienists check for oral abnormalities and identify your risk for oral diseases.
- They remove hardened plaque, calculus, and stains by professionally cleaning your teeth. Part of the cleaning process can also include applying agents that prevent cavities, such as fluoride and sealants.
- Some dental hygienists can administer x-rays.
- Dental hygienists often run diagnostic tests, which a dentist will review and interpret.
- In some instances, dental hygienists can place filling materials and polish your tooth after a cavity has been drilled.
Now that you know the importance of preventative dental care, are you ready to take the necessary steps to keep your mouth healthy? If you are looking for experienced and friendly dental hygienists and dentists to help keep your teeth in the best shape possible, visit Duff Family Dental if you live in southwest Missouri. Make an appointment by calling us at 417-501-8601 or contact us online today!