When it comes to talking about Preventative Dentistry, tooth decay and gum disease are the common topics.
There are other issues to talk about as well, but you will find information on those in their respective sections (crooked teeth, oral cancer, TMJ, tooth grinding, etc.) where causes, prevention, and treatment are all discussed.
So let’s talk about tooth decay and periodontal disease, because you will hear something a little different here than in most other dental offices.
The basis of prevention is to eliminate the cause of the disease which eliminates the development or progression of the disease. With tooth decay, it is no different. Bacteria that buildup on the teeth ingest food debris left behind from poor oral hygiene efforts and produce acids that eat away at the surface of the tooth. So it seems that preventing this process should be quite simple. Keep the bacteria off of the teeth, and don’t allow or eat foods that the bacteria use the most to produce those acids. Scientists discovered that adding fluoride to toothpaste or to drinking water provides for “hardening” of the tooth’s surface and therefore making it more resistant to the bacteria and acids, but it is also been found that the form of fluoride used is a neurotoxin, and therefore we do not recommend using fluoride in any form except in special cases. For an individual, we emphasize home care and diet as the basis of prevention of decay. There are other factors as well, which includes poorly designed restorations, open contacts between back teeth, mouth breathing, bruxism (tooth grinding), and crooked teeth. If you or your child is experiencing decay issues and you feel that the diet and hygiene are under control, coming in to discuss other factors is a good place to start.
The other major preventative effort is about gum disease (gingivitis, periodontal disease).
There is much to say about periodontal disease, and you’ll find most of it in the section on it, so here we’ll limit this to saying prevention is focused on keeping plaque and calculus (tartar) off of the teeth, as they are the source of irritation and infection of the gum tissues that result in periodontal disease. Therefore, an approach that combines good oral hygiene practices (brushing and flossing) at home with regular professional care (dental cleanings by the hygienist) is the foundation of prevention. Like tooth decay, there are other factors, so be sure to read through the section on periodontal disease for more information.
One of our newer tools to prevent and/or treat decay and periodontal disease is ozone.
Be sure to read about this amazing technology in its own section.