At the risk of too often repeating an old cliché, “An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.” All dental authorities agree this is especially true when it comes to maintaining your oral health.
At ArtWork Dental, we emphasize preventive dental care with all of our patients. To us, the best dental checkup involves you leaving with the perfect, healthy smile we helped you attain on the previous visit—no dental work necessary.
While there are some general guidelines (daily brushing and flossing, teeth cleanings every six months at least, and dental visits twice per year), preventive care is an individual matter.
The following information is excerpted from Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums, a brochure by the American Dental Association (accessed 5/8/09).
What is preventive dental care?
Preventive dental care is all the things you do (or should do) to take care of your teeth and gums: brushing, flossing, eating a healthy diet, and seeing your dentist regularly to help avoid dental disease.
Why is preventive dental care important?
When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, preventive dental care is smart. Brushing and flossing help to remove plaque from the surfaces and in between teeth, keeping your teeth looking and feeling clean. A healthy diet, one low in sugar and other refined carbohydrates, helps keep your whole body, including your teeth and gums, in good shape. And routine dental exams and regular cleanings may help prevent the incidence of higher-cost treatments such as periodontal surgery, root canals, extractions and fillings. After all, early detection and prevention are keys to minimizing your need for more serious dental treatment.
How often should I see my dentist?
There are no clear guidelines stating how often a person should see the dentist. Some studies suggest once a year, others say every three or six months. Depending on your current dental health, your dental history, your risk factors for dental disease, and your personal preference, your dentist will recommend the frequency of visits that's right for you.
A child or adult with healthy gums should come in every six months. A child or adult who has had their teeth periodontally “scaled” (extensive periodontal treatment) should visit every 3-4 months, since their gums are considered less healthy.
What does the American Dental Association say about routine dental care?
The ADA recommends the following steps for good dental health:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
- Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.
- Eat a balanced diet, and limit soft drinks and between-meal snacks.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings (perio scaling and root planing) and oral exams.
- Artwork Dental includes Perio-ID test for active bacteria leading to periodontal disease, which is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and low birth-weight babies. It can be treated with antibiotics.
- Artwork Dental includes MyPerioPath as well to test for DNA inflammatory markers linked to periodontal disease. (same reasons as above)
- Artwork Dental includes OraRisk test for HPV in men and women. HPV is now linked to over 70% of oral cancers, which are the fastest-growing cancer risk at present. It can be treated with antibiotics.
What questions should I ask my dentist about routine dental care?
- Which toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and/or other products do you recommend for my teeth?
- Based on my dental history and current oral health condition, how many cleanings do you recommend I have each year, and why?
- Am I at risk for any dental diseases? If so, why? What changes should I make in my routine dental care to help control this risk?
Any further questions? Ask Brian or one of his staff members for their specific recommendations on your next (or first) visit.