The Best and Easiest Way to Avoid Serious Dental Problems
Ever heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” We can’t think of a time that is truer than when talking about your dental health! Back in the day, most folks only went to the dentist if they were experiencing pain. By that time, the problem was often so advanced, the only solution was to start pulling teeth! Thank goodness many people now see the need and value of preventative dentistry. But surprisingly, there are still many folks who only go to the dentist in a dental emergency. If only they realized how many problems preventative dentistry actually prevents!
What is Preventative Dentistry?
Preventative dentistry means seeing your dentist on a regular basis in order to catch and treat dental issues when they are small, thus averting more serious problems down the road. As Barney Fife used to say, “Nip it in the bud, Andy!” At an absolute minimum, you should visit your dentist every six months to have your teeth professionally cleaned and have your dentist check your overall dental health. At one of those visits, your dentist will take dental x-rays. It’s amazing to realize how many people could avoid having teeth pulled, dental implants, crowns, root canals and other dental procedures if they had maintained regularly scheduled dental visits to catch problems early. Additionally, other health issues can be avoided or caught early on. At each visit, your dentist visually checks for any signs of oral cancer. In some very serious cases of neglect, tooth decay can move into the blood stream as infection and travel anywhere in the body, including the heart.
Important Information for Parents
It is especially important for parents to bring their kids to the dentist twice a year starting at age 2 or 3 years old. Children’s teeth are more susceptible to decay and because their teeth are softer, decay can occur at a much faster rate than in adults. Along with catching any decay early on, regular visits to the dentist also help the child to feel more comfortable. A trip to your family dentist can be stress-free when your child is visiting a dentist whom they have come to know, like, and trust. If they only see a dentist when something hurts or when they need more extensive treatment, kids will associate trips to the dentist with negative feelings. On the other hand, if going to the dentist just means getting their teeth cleaned, high fives for taking good care of their teeth and a free toothbrush, it is much more likely to be something they will actually enjoy. Additionally, kids who have been brought up seeing a dentist twice a year are much more likely to continue this practice into adulthood.
The most important person in providing you with preventive dentistry is YOU! Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Maintain a healthy diet, avoiding foods that can harm your teeth, and don’t smoke. And be sure to see your dentist twice a year!
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