Preventative dentistry is the modern way of reducing the amount of dental treatment necessary to maintain a healthy mouth. With the dentist, the
hygienist and you, the patient, all working together, the aim is to prevent the need for further treatment. This avoids the traditional pattern of fillings and extractions.
Preventative dentistry helps you to keep your teeth. The two major causes of tooth loss are decay and gum disease. The better we prevent or deal with these two problems, the more chance people have of keeping their teeth for life.
Your dentist will first assess your teeth and gums and discuss with you any treatment you may need. The main aim is to help you to get your mouth really healthy, so that any dental problems do not come back. In a healthy mouth, it is unlikely that decay or gum disease will continue to be a problem.
Your dentist will make sure that all your fillings are in good repair and that there are no rough edges to make cleaning difficult. The hygienist will thoroughly "scale and polish" your teeth to remove the plaque and calculus which has gathered there. She will also advise you which is the ideal toothbrush for you to use and show you the best ways to brush and floss to remove plaque.
Plaque and Calculus
Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria which forms constantly on the teeth and gums. When you eat or drink something, the plaque turns the sugar into acid which causes tooth decay unless removed. Plaque will also cause gum inflammation if it is not regularly and thoroughly removed.
The hard tartar or calculus which builds up on the teeth also started off as plaque.
Food and drinks containing sugar cause decay. Having sweet things less often will help a lot. Foods such as cheese, fruit, nuts and vegetables make good substitutes.
Fluoride helps teeth resist decay so it is important to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. If your dentist or hygienist thinks added fluoride would be useful, they may recommend a fluoride gel. They may also suggest fluoride rinses, tablets or drops as an extra help against decay for use at home. Only use these if you have been advised to and follow their instructions carefully.
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