The Path to Lifelong Oral Health: The Principles of Preventive Dentistry


The dentists offering dental care in Plymouth strive to imbibe good oral hygiene habits in their patients because these form the building blocks of optimal oral health. It is important to keep track of your oral wellness to prevent dental problems in the future. This greatly avoids the need for extensive dental procedures. 

Taking care of your teeth and the rest of your mouth is essential to avoid oral problems like tooth decay, gingivitis, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity. Regular oral exams, professional cleanings, and home hygiene practices are considered to be the backbone of preventive dentistry. 

What is preventive dentistry?

Preventive dentistry is a branch of dentistry, and a combination of regular dental checkups along with developing good habits like brushing, and flossing. Taking care of your teeth must begin as early as childhood and should extend throughout your life.  The main goal of preventive dentistry is to prevent oral health problems like cavities, gum disease (gingivitis), halitosis (bad breath), thrush, etc from developing or getting worse. Preventing these conditions can save you money, and time, and improve your quality of life. 

What are the levels of prevention in dentistry

There are three main levels of preventive dentistry, including:

Primary prevention

  • This refers to completely preventing a disease, such as tooth decay, from developing in the first place. 
  • This should begin at a young age.

Secondary prevention

  • This refers to gradually reversing, or halting a disease that has begun to develop.
  • If a dentist notices early signs of cavities, the decay can be addressed accordingly. 

Tertiary prevention

  • This refers to slowing or stopping a fully developed disease from spreading or worsening. 

Who offers preventive care?

During regular dental checkups and cleanings, most dentists and dental hygienists will look out for warning signs of common oral health problems. They may educate and counsel you on how to prevent these oral conditions from getting worse. Most dentists also offer dental work to slow or prevent oral disease progression. 

What are the key elements of preventive dentistry?

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a tooth-friendly toothpaste
  • Flossing once a day
  • Eating a balanced diet that is beneficial to you and your microflora 
  • Using appropriate mouthwash 
  • Visiting your dentist 1 to 2 times a year for cleaning and examination
  • Scheduling dental exams such as oral cancer screening  
  • Rinsing your mouth out after consuming sugary, starchy, or acidic foods and drinks

Preventive dental care is essential irrespective of age, race, and gender. Neglecting your dental health can lead to several oral problems, systemic health issues, social dysfunction, and other problems that cost you time, money, and happiness. Remember to visit a dentist at least once a year to lead a healthy, and quality life. 

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