Maintaining healthy teeth with preventive dentistry strategies is a lifetime practice. Preventive strategies help achieve three primary dental health objectives: hygiene, appearance and comfort. Dr. Darian Hampton and his staff at The Hamptons Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can provide the care and expert guidance needed to keep your teeth and mouth healthy and looking its best from childhood through late adulthood.
Proper preventive care consists of at-home care in conjunction with exams and check-ups with dental professionals. American Dental Association guidelines recommend visiting a dentist for a cleaning twice per year. Keeping active, avoiding smoking and tobacco products, limiting sugar and maintaining a healthy diet with calcium-rich foods all contribute to healthy teeth and a reduced risk of contracting periodontal disease. Here are a few other strategies to incorporate into your or your children’s dentistry routine:
Flossing and Brushing 101
The cornerstones of preventive dental health are daily brushing and flossing. However, brushing requires proper technique, employing a gentle, circular motion. It is important to brush your teeth after waking up in the morning, before going to bed and possibly after meals.
Flossing also needs to be performed correctly to be effective. The strands of floss should slide along all edges of the tooth to remove as much plaque as possible (if left unchecked, plaque can build up and create tartar, a hardened sticky substance with acid-producing bacteria that is the enemy of healthy teeth).
It is also recommended that patients use tooth-cleaning products containing fluoride, which can be absorbed into teeth (especially children’s teeth) and prevent decay. Fluoride has been introduced in many municipal water systems as well, so getting enough fluoride may be as easy as drinking from your tap.
To top off your brushing and flossing routine, water flossing can be very beneficial. The forceful, targeted pressure from a water flosser cleans debris and plaque between the teeth and below the gum line, where it is difficult for regular floss to reach.
Sealants for Children
Sealants are thin composite coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to prevent tooth decay. Sealants protect the teeth by keeping food particles and germs out of the grooves on the tooth surfaces.
The ideal time to apply sealants is just after permanent molars have grown in, generally around the age of 12.
Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing any tooth structure. A gel is applied to the tooth surface and removed after a few seconds. The sealant is then painted on and hardens within about a minute. Sealants generally last between five and 10 years.
If you would like to consult with Dr. Hampton about your preventive or other dental needs, please contact The Hamptons Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.