Preventive Dentistry Keeps Your Mouth Healthy [longform]
It’s true that restorative dentistry and full-mouth reconstruction techniques have come a long way and have saved the smiles of many of our patients. But just as always, it’s best to keep your natural smile healthy through preventive dentistry.
This will save you pain, time, and money. And it’s not difficult, requiring just consistency and a commitment to your oral health.
Here we cover the basics of preventive dentistry, including the importance of regular dental visits. Book your next checkup at Family Dental of Spokane Valley, located in beautiful Spokane Valley, WA. Call 509-850-3217.
Be a Regular at Our Dental Office
Here’s a quick, one-question quiz: You’re busy. Your teeth and gums feel fine. You also happen to be due for your twice-yearly dental checkup. Is it okay to skip it? The answer is an emphatic “no.”
If you want to maximize your chances for a healthy smile for life, it’s not a good idea to miss dental checkups. Let us explain what happens at these appointments so you understand why they are so important.
- We will give your teeth a thorough professional cleaning. With our experience and special tools, we are able to remove plaque and tartar from parts of your mouth that you can’t reach with your toothbrush at home. If this stuff isn’t taken off, it will lead to tooth decay and gum disease. We will also expertly floss your teeth and polish them so they look and feel squeaky clean.
- Dr. Ellsworth will examine your teeth, gums, and entire mouth, looking for signs of decay and gum disease. You may have a problem brewing and not even realize it, as symptoms often don’t start immediately. And if an issues is caught early on, treatment is likely to be less invasive and more successful.
- We may take digital X-rays of your mouth. These are faster than conventional X-rays, and expose you to just a fraction of the radiation. X-rays enable us to see problems below the surface, such as impacted teeth, abscesses, jawbone damage, and cavities between the teeth.
You may also want to consider the following optional preventive services for your children or yourself.
- Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are painted onto the chewing surfaces of the back molars. They act as a barrier, preventing destructive, bacteria-produced acids from reaching the enamel. Sealants have been proven to reduce the likelihood of tooth decay in children. The process is simple, painless, and protects the teeth for years.
- Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, making it better able to resist acid attacks. We get fluoride through most water supplies, as well as toothpastes and other dental products. At Family Dental of Spokane Valley, we offer special treatments so you can be sure you and your kids are getting the fluoride you need.
- Athletic mouthguards are recommended for kids and adults who are involved in activities that may result in injury to the mouth. Our custom mouthguards are crafted from impressions of your teeth, so they are better fitting and more comfortable than the store-bought variety.
Take Care of Your Mouth at Home
Regular dental visits won’t keep your teeth and gums healthy if you slack off at home. Here are a few dental hygiene guidelines to keep in mind.
- Brush your teeth twice every day for two minutes at a time. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline and reach all surface of the teeth (including the backs).
- Be thorough, but don’t brush hard. Vigorous brushing may actually wear away your enamel and injure your gums. This makes you vulnerable to cavities and gum disease. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Floss daily. Go between all of the teeth, keeping the floss taut against the enamel, and gently clean under the gumline.
- Drink lots of water. Getting into the habit of sipping plain water throughout the day helps neutralize acids and keep your mouth clean between meals. Especially beneficial is tap water fortified with fluoride.
- Chew sugarless gum. The act of chewing it stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth. And saliva is your body’s way of cleaning food particles and bacteria. Just be sure that the gum contains no sugar!
- If you smoke, do whatever necessary to quit the habit. Tobacco use stains the tooth enamel, makes your breath smell bad, and increases your chances of developing gum disease.
Practice these preventive dentistry tips, and you will be well on your way to keeping your smile healthy for life. To book an appointment at Family Dental of Spokane Valley, submit our convenient online form or call our Spokane Valley, WA office at 509-850-3217.