Caring for your teeth in order to keep them healthy and avoid costly visits to the dentist is very important.
What is preventive dental?
Preventive dental means proactively caring for your teeth in order to keep them healthy.
You aim to take care of your overall health and wellbeing by eating a mostly healthy diet, exercising, getting enough rest and avoiding infections. Preventive dental is part of this – it’s all about taking steps to reduce the chance of needing fillings, cavities or other dental treatments.
Like anything, preventive dental saves you money over time. By making the effort to look after your teeth now, you’ll reduce the risk of requiring costly dental procedures in the future.
Proactively looking after your teeth involves:
- Brushing your teeth every day – brush well, but not vigorously, in the morning and evening – and use a toothpaste containing fluoride if possible (fluoride helps to strengthen your tooth enamel).
- Flossing your teeth every day – while most of us are accustomed to daily brushing, we often fall short when it comes to flossing. Regular flossing is just as important as regular brushing. Flossing helps to prevent the build-up of plaque and cleans those super tight nooks between your teeth.
- Visiting the dentist regularly – As well as perform your annual scale and clean, your dentist can assess the health of your teeth, flag any risks or signs of early decay, and give you advice on how frequently you should return.
- Eating a healthy diet– a diet high in fresh produce and whole grains, and low in processed sugars, will help to keep your teeth healthy and clean (remember that too much sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay).
- Replace your toothbrush regularly – every 3-4 months, get a new toothbrush and keep it clean by rinsing it after every brush.
- Quit smoking – smoking is not only bad for your teeth, it’s bad for your health and the health of those around you. Phone QUITLINE on 13 78 48
Why is preventive dental important?
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1 in every 2 12 year olds has tooth decay in their permanent teeth, while 3 in 10 adults (aged 25-44) have untreated tooth decay.
These figures suggest that the prevalence of tooth disease in Australians is relatively high – what’s more, only 2 in 3 people have visited a dentist in the past year.
Proactively looking after your teeth will ensure your dentist detects any early signs of tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, enamel loss, inflammation or other conditions requiring treatment.
This means any potential dental issues will be treated before they become worse and end up costing you a significant amount of money.
There are also a variety of secondary health risks associated with poor dental and oral health, including diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, anxiety and some respiratory diseases. The health of your teeth can be an indicator of a more serious disease – which is why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly.