What oral preventive hygiene and why is it important? Our Edmonton dentists answer these questions in today's post. Plus: preventive care measures you can take today to help preserve your smile tomorrow.
What is preventive dental care?
If you've ever fallen asleep without brushing your teeth and woken up with bad breath and a mouth that feels "fuzzy" until you brush and floss thoroughly, you likely understand the importance of oral hygiene.
Maintaining a solid daily oral healthcare routine and attending regular dental exams and cleanings at your dentist's office are two essential elements of effective preventive dental hygiene and care.
Following both of these practices can help you prevent dental issues and keep your smile healthy long-term - and keep your breath smelling fresh. Preventive care is part of general dentistry, which encompasses a wide range of essential dental treatments and services.
The primary goal of general dentistry is to preserve your natural teeth, and to keep your teeth and gums healthy and functional.
Brushing, flossing and practicing excellent oral hygiene at home, taking measures such as quitting smoking and reducing sugary snacks, and regularly seeing your dentist will all help you to keep as many of your natural teeth as possible as you age.
This is important as our natural teeth are stronger than tooth replacements. The fewer teeth we need to replace, the better for our oral health.
Plus, the more diligently you care for your teeth today, the less you'll have to invest financially in your later years in treatments for gum disease, cavities, tooth erosion, sensitivity, loss and other issues.
How much should I brush?
Brushing your teeth frequently is a critical part of at-home oral preventive hygiene routine everyone should take the time to maintain on a daily basis.
We recommend brushing your teeth an hour after each meal with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Is it really necessary to floss?
Our answer will always be a resounding 'yes', since brushing alone isn't enough to completely clean your teeth. Flossing after brushing will ensure your teeth - and the spaces between them - have been properly cleaned.
How often should I see the dentist?
How often you'll need to see your dentist will depend on your oral health history and whether you have any existing oral health issues that need close monitoring. We recommend that most people see their dentist twice yearly (every six months) to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease - or keep them in check - and preserve their overall health.
While our first goal is to prevent dental health issues, early detection and treatment of oral health problems are our next highest priority. If we're able to catch tooth decay and gum disease in their early stages, they can be reversed. Treatment may be easier and more affordable.
Dentists are also often the first line of defence when it comes to identifying early symptoms of oral cancer. Your dentist can take the opportunity to look for signs during your regular dental exam and refer you to other professionals for more follow-up if needed.
If this disease is not detected and treated early enough, oral cancer can become progressively more serious and even life-threatening.
Preventive Care at Azarko Dental Clinics
Our dentists in Edmonton understand that between work, family and your personal life, scheduling and keeping your regular teeth cleaning appointments with your dental team can feel like another challenge. And, you might be feeling anxious about your next visit.
That's why we offer multiple options to schedule appointments - by phone or through our online request form. Our West Edmonton dental clinic offers extended evening hours and is open Saturdays and Sundays, while our South Edmonton clinic also offers evening hours and is open on Saturdays.