Preventative dentistry helps to care for teeth and keep them healthy, to avoid any problems arising. It is the first step to healthy teeth and a healthy mouth and often less painful and involved than restorative dentistry – which we need when something has gone wrong. In the UK more than a quarter of adults only visit their dentist when they have a problem. Which might be why 31% of adults have tooth decay and 29% suffer from regular dental pain. Preventative dentistry has many benefits but there are four reasons in particular to make it part of your oral care routine.
1. Mouth Cancer
91% of oral cancer cases in the UK are preventable. Regular check ups with a dentist can help to catch mouth cancer early, at a stage when it is treatable. Statistically, mouth cancer is the 10th most common male cancer and 15th most common in women. It’s worth noting that most deaths from mouth cancer arise because of late detection so preventative dentistry plays a big role in helping to catch a malignant growth before it’s too late.
2. Bad breath
Bad breath may not be fatal but it’s unpleasant and embarrassing, even though most of us have suffered from it at one time or another. Bad breath on an ongoing basis is often caused by gas being released by harmful bacteria that coat teeth. Preventative dentistry can help prevent a problem like this by identifying and dealing with problem areas. That could be a food build up between teeth that are not being flossed, poor oral health or tooth decay.
3. Gum disease
Gum disease is a very common problem in the UK – most people experience it at least once. However, if left untreated gum disease can cause all sorts of problems, from receding gums to tooth loss. Swelling, soreness and redness of gums are all signs that there may be a problem. The early stage of gum disease is called Gingivitis and the first sign of this is bleeding gums. The more serious periodontal disease affects the ability of your gums to hold teeth in place. With preventative dentistry, gum disease issues can be caught and treated early.
Problems with decay are often irreversible so it’s important that they are spotted early and check ups have a big role to play in that. Decay is a relatively slow process and, at first at least, may not hurt or be visible. Preventative dentistry techniques – such as x-rays and magnification – allow your dentist to spot the signs of decay before it takes over a tooth. They can also provide advice on anything you’re doing wrong – for example, did you know that if you only brush once a day you’re 33% more likely to develop tooth decay? With preventative dentistry you can reduce the need for fillings and minimise dental work as the years go on.