As dental patients, we must deal with the consequences of less than ideal home care, which can result in a not so enjoyable trip to the dentist. Since graduating from dental school in 1996, this is the most common complaint I hear. So what is the answer to this age old dilemma? Simply put, prevention is the key.
My focus is to educate patients of the benefits of preventing dental disease caused by cavities and periodontal disease (bone loss around the roots of the teeth). Prevention starts with dedicating the time and effort into an effective routine of brushing twice daily for two minutes, flossing and using a mouth rinse.
Nutrition is a key part of prevention. The balance of ph in your mouth is important in preventing decay. Choosing the right foods to maintain your ph level at 7 or above is one way to achieve this goal. If the ph level in your mouth drops below 5, the bacteria that causes decay grows and the teeth begin to breakdown. This then starts the cycle of dental disease. Keep in mind that this is a communicable disease, with the ability to be passed along from one individual to another.
High carbohydrate foods, carbonated beverages, sports drinks and high sugar juices lower the ph level and make us prone to decay. Overall health, age and certain medications also play a part. Another factor to consider is the quality and quantity of our saliva, as it plays a very important role in cavity prevention. Saliva is our buffering agent, re-mineralizing our tooth enamel with calcium and phosphate ions, protecting our teeth against cavity formation.
I am a strong believer that the battle for optimum oral and physical well being starts with prevention of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Our mouths are the gateway to our bodies reflecting on our overall well being.
Neglect of these diseases also contributes to factors for cardiac disease, strokes and diabetes.
If we understand the keys to prevention and practice optimal oral health care, your dental visits can become a more positive experience, geared toward just maintenance. It is up to you. You can win with prevention.