preventive dentistry

Maintaining good oral health and hygiene takes more than tooth brushing and flossing. It is necessary always to prevent it on time. Preventive care dentistry is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the education and treatment of oral health problems before they spread to cause the disease. Typically, preventive care dentistry is useful for children and adolescents. However, anyone can benefit from this particular branch of dentistry.

Some of the treatments that come under preventive care dentistry include annual teeth cleaning, sealant placement, fluoride treatments for children, and home dental care education. Today’s article will highlight the prime treatments of preventive care dentistry. Moreover, we will also look at some home dental care tips to maintain good oral health, especially for children.

What is preventive care dentistry?

Preventive care dentistry is characterized as the practice of caring for teeth and gums to keep them clean and healthy. This measure usually includes a well-planned treatment course that focuses on identifying the early signs of disease in the mouth and seizing them. (1) Some of the common dental problems that are experienced by toddlers and older children include tooth decay, gum disease, enamel erosion, and poor oral hygiene. Typically, preventive dentistry can have many forms for example –

  • Home care instructions to maintain proper oral health
  • Regular dental check-ups
  • Routine teeth cleaning
  • Dental procedures that stop the progression of dental problems

The American Dental Association recommends having two dental check-ups in a year within every six months. Regular dental check-ups, especially for children, ensure clean, healthy, and white teeth. Moreover, it helps to teach god oral habits to the children right from an early age.

What does preventive care dentistry entail?

As mentioned above, several procedures come under preventive care dentistry. Let’s take a closer look at all the categories –

Professional teeth cleaning

Professional teeth cleaning is usually performed during the first dental visits to familiarize the child with dental procedures. It is also an effective dental procedure wherein the dentist scrapes the tooth surface to remove plaque and tartar.

Dental plaque is the root cause of many dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease. It is characterized as a thin yellowish biofilm that sticks to the surface of the tooth and around the gum line. Plaque acts as a host for the growth of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. Typically, professional teeth cleaning is performed using an ultrasonic scaler to remove the plaque and bacteria. The tooth is then polished to give a smooth and shiny surface.

Fluoride treatments

Fluoride treatments are the most beneficial dental procedures that allow enamel remineralization in children’s teeth. This procedure pays a significant contribution to reducing the incidence of tooth decay. (2)

Professional fluoride treatments also provide a direct topical effect on the tooth, which has more significant benefits as compared to water fluoridation techniques. In this procedure, the dentist uses the gel formulation of the fluoride in a dental tray. The tray is placed in contact with the teeth on both the jaws for a few minutes. Once the fluoride gets absorbed into the enamel, the tray is removed, and excess fluoride gel is wiped from the tooth surface.

Sealant placement

Dental sealants are characterized as a white plastic coating that is placed on the first permanent molars of the child. Sealants are usually thin, flowable, and chemically bond to the tooth structure. Therefore, they do not require any tooth preparation. (3)

Typically, sealants are placed in patients who have deep pits and grooves in their permanent molar teeth. This prevents food entrapment that may potentially lead to tooth decay. The sealants last for about five to ten years if taken proper care.

Home dental care

Some of the most effective home dental care techniques include –

  • Proper tooth brushing technique – brushing teeth twice daily is a mantra everyone follows at home. However, it is essential to focus on the method you use. For children, the best way is to brush gently in a circular motion covering all the surfaces of the teeth. Use fluoridated toothpaste to prevent the incidence of gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Flossing may seem like a tedious and boring job. However, it is the most crucial step in maintaining the health of your teeth. Perform flossing activity together with your children and monitor their technique. Take care that the child does not snap the gums while flossing. (4)
  • Dental care starts with the type of food you put in your mouth. Always try to maintain a healthy balanced diet that includes good portions of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, or yogurt are a great way to start your meal.
  • For infants, parents must take measures to clean their gums even before the tooth eruption. Use a clean damped washcloth and gently wipe the baby’s gums. Moreover, monitor their teething

Who can benefit from preventive care dentistry?

Children, in particular, can enjoy the significant benefits of preventive care dentistry. This helps to strengthen their developing teeth. Regular dental visits play a crucial role in keeping a check on the annual health status of children’s oral cavity. (5)

The dentist can quickly identify the low risk and high-risk dental problems and take immediate actions to treat the oral condition. Many insurance plans cover the cost of preventive dental visits and treatments. Consult your dentist and get more information about the insurance plan to ensure the proper oral health of your child.

Take away message

As a parent, you always lookout for the best health care for your child. Oral health is equally essential to maintain the overall well-being of the child. Children are more prone to dental problems as compared to adults. Some of the common dental problems include tooth decay, cavity formation, and gum disease.

It is necessary to follow a preventive dental approach to seize the dental disease at an early stage. It not only provides an excellent oral environment to the child but also helps to save the child from the misery of dental pain. Preventive care dentistry typically consists of specific dental treatments like teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment, sealants, and home dental care. Follow up with your dentist two times annually to give your child better oral health.