Preventive dentistry is the key to long term oral health.
- Regular dental visits,
- Protecting teeth from injury, and
- Home oral hygiene
are all integral in preventing more costly dental problems. Waiting to see a dentist until something hurts is not recommended. We like to catch problems before they progress to the point of pain and infection.
Dental cavities and tooth decay is one of the most common medical conditions experienced in Ireland and the single most common disease of childhood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 19 percent of children have untreated cavities and approximately 41 percent of children have decay in their “baby teeth.” This is a health statistic that has not improved since the 1970s and recent studies are indicting a new rise in cavities in children.
Cavities are the result of gradual tooth decay caused by the build-up of plaque and breakdown of protective enamel. Bacteria are normally present in the mouth; however, as they digest sugar and starches they produce acid, which weakens the enamel. Additionally, the bacteria and its acid mixes with food debris and saliva to form a sticky biofilm called plaque. Plaque that is not removed hardens into tarter, which can result in inflammation and gingivitis. The acid within the plaque can continue to dissolve the enamel and eventually cause pits and holes, called cavities.
Initially cavities are painless, but they open the tooth up to infections, eventually exposure the nerve resulting in pain. The internal structures of the tooth can also be destroyed, ultimately causing the loss of the tooth. While this might not seem important in “baby teeth” as they are going to be lost anyway, infection can cause damage to the growing teeth and subsequent treatments can be painful and expensive.
We can help you and be a line of defense against oral conditions which may be linked to medical problems. It's important to visit regularly for preventive checks. Working with us, you take an active part to help reduce your chances of serious dental health problems. Our dental hygienist will clean your teeth and take X-rays of your mouth, if recommended. You can also prevent serious dental problems by eating a healthy diet and practicing regular dental hygiene. Brush your teeth after eating and floss at least twice a day. If you're unsure about good dental hygiene habits, talk to your Dr. Kelleher at Mint Dental. We can give you tips about how to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Dental disease is almost entirely preventable and oral health is just as important as the health of the rest of your body. Untreated dental disease can lead to serious health problems such as infection, damage to bone or nerve, and tooth loss.
Infection from tooth disease can even spread to other parts of the body and in rare cases, can lead to death.
Remember you can practice preventive dentistry on yourself by adopting these healthy habits:
- Always remember to brush your teeth twice a day - (see our tips section for brushing guidelines)
- Floss between teeth once a day, and - (see our tips section for flossing guidelines)
- Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. - (see our Dietary section for more information)
This will help ensure a beautiful smile for a lifetime.