In addition to daily hygienic maintenance including brushing and flossing, you can also help promote good oral health by seeing your dentist for regular checkups. It is generally recommended that you receive a dental check up every six months, but depending on your dental history your dentist may recommend coming in more frequently, for instance once every three months. The value of conscientious personal hygiene and regular maintenance should never be underrated. Scheduling regular cleanings with your Dental Hygienist is crucial to maintaining not only good oral health, but also the soundness of your overall health. Routine teeth cleanings remove plaque and tartar off of the surface of your teeth and gums, which serves to reduce your risk of developing gingivitis or early stages of Periodontal Disease. Leaving dental problems untreated can lead to decay and in more severe situation tooth loss, making it more
difficult for your dentist to treat in the future.
As a preventative dental disease measure, you should receive a dental exam and cleaning at least twice per year. Regular dental exams are critical in maintaining good dental health. For instance, dental exams are a necessary safeguard against gum disease, which has been linked to a number of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.
During a dental exam, your dentist is able to detect any problems which may be present early, making treatment more efficient, easier, and less expensive. During your dental exam, your dentist will:
Tooth decay, also known as caries, is a progressive dental disease which results from the interaction of bacteria on the surface structures of your teeth with the sugars that you consume in your everyday diet. Your teeth and gums are constantly exposed to large amounts of sugars and starches from the food and drinks you consume. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity. In treatment for tooth decay, dentists first remove the decay, and then fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage may result from severe decay, and a decayed tooth may require a Crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, making it stronger or covering it). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental checkups, diet control, and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.
The grooves and depressions found on the surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult to clean of bacteria and food. When bacteria reacts with deposits of food left on your teeth, acids form, and start wearing away your tooth enamel, causing cavities to form. Tooth sealants help to protect these areas by sealing off the grooves and depressions, which prevents bacteria and food from getting into these areas. The sealant is a resin, most commonly applied to the depressions found on your molars and premolars. The material can last for several years, but must be checked during your regular dental appointments.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which helps the outer surface of your teeth become stronger, and resistant to decay. Fluoride essentially helps remineralize weakened tooth surfaces, and ultimately strengthen the tooth enamel. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source, and, if necessary, recommend fluoride supplements (most commonly in the form of tablets or drops).