What is preventative dentistry and why is it important? Well, because it can save your teeth, your time, and your money!
Post by: Dr Tiffany Kenton, dentist
You’ve heard the old saying, “Prevention is better than cure”? That’s very true of preventative dentistry. The fact of the matter is that it’s always a lot cheaper and less uncomfortable to actually try to prevent disease rather than treating it. So here at Greenwood Dental we find that one of the most important things we can do is educate the patient about the importance of regular check-ups and cleans.
Some cynics might suggest that it’s in our financial interests for people to not look after their teeth. But it’s not really about finance.
We understand that patients won’t always see us that way. After all, many people only go to their GP when they are sick, and isn’t a dentist just a doctor for your teeth?
But your GP will also probably point out to you the importance of regular check-ups, to tackle any problems early if they arise, and to make sure you stay in optimum health. So if you go to the doctor regularly, you should also be going to the dentist regularly.
If you don’t treat dental disease, it can have implications throughout the rest of your body. And when we talk about dental disease, we’re not just talking about toothaches. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, has been linked to a number of chronic health conditions, including heart disease. But even if the infection doesn’t go further than your tooth, it can still cause a great deal of pain, and can lead to losing your teeth, not to mention serious damage to bone and nerves.
There are some dental treatments, like sealants, that would come under the general heading of preventative dentistry. And we would encourage you to talk to your dentist about such treatments if you want to know what’s available to you.
The great thing about preventative dentistry, though, is you don’t really need a dentist to practice it regularly. If you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes—making sure you brush each individual tooth as thoroughly as you can—and floss between your teeth once a day, you’ll already be a long way ahead of the game. If you also eat a good diet with as little sugar as you can manage, and limit the number of sugary drinks and snacks you have, you can be confident that your next visit will just result in a scale and clean and congratulations from your dentist!
We also find that it’s important to instill those good habits early on in life. Nowadays a lot of the patients we see will also bring their little ones in as well. That gives us a good opportunity to educate them about regular dental care at an early age, so they will value that preventative state of mind, rather than just seeing the dentist as someone to visit when they have a problem.