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Advise & Screening

What is preventive dentistry?

Preventive dentistry will help you keep a healthy mouth, keep your teeth for longer and have less dental treatments. Your dentist and/or hygienist will carry out an assessment and investigative tests to. This will allow them to tailor treatment and advice to your exact needs and arm you with the knowledge and skills to minimise the chance of these conditions occurring.

Screening

Each time you visit the dentist or hygienist they are looking for early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, signs of mouth cancer or other mouth sores and even tooth wear.

Can everybody benefit from preventive dentistry?

Yes. Preventive dentistry will benefit anyone, even those that don't have any teeth. This is because conditions such as mouth cancer and denture stomatitis can be spotted during regular visits to the dentist and then treated. It is obviously very important for children, but it is never too late to start

Will my dentist recommend treatment?

A 'preventive dentist' will often recommend treatment to strengthen a tooth to make sure it does not break. For example, if the dentist sees that a tooth is cracked or is weak and in danger of breaking, then you will be advised about having a new filling or perhaps a crown or 'onlay' to protect it. This is always better than waiting until the tooth breaks, and then dealing with it as an emergency. Another important preventative treatment is fissure sealants.

Use of Fluoride

Fluoride helps teeth resist decay. If your dentist thinks extra fluoride would be useful, they may recommend applying a fluoride varnish. They may also suggest fluoride rinses, tablets or drops to use at home as an extra help against decay. Children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). Three-year-olds to adults should use a toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm of fluoride.

Diet advice

Food and drinks containing sugar cause decay. If you cut down on how often you have them in your diet, then this will help a lot and substitute them with items such as cheese, fruit, nuts and vegetables which are much better for your teeth.

Dental erosion is the loss of enamel caused by acid attack. When the enamel is worn away it can lead to pain and sensitivity. Foods and drinks that contain acid, such as citrus fruits, fizzy drinks, smoothies, fruit juice and fruit teas can all cause dental erosion if you consume them. Try to keep acidic food and drinks to meal times and drink acidic drinks through a straw.

We recommend that you do not brush your teeth for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything. Every time you eat or drink, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Waiting for an hour or so will allow your saliva to slowly restore it to its natural balance.

Chewing sugar-free gum makes your mouth produce more saliva and stops your mouth drying out, and can help to prevent dental decay and erosion.

Tobacco and alcohol

Smoking can cause tooth staining, tooth loss, mouth cancer and make gum disease worse. If you smoke you may need to visit the dentist or hygienist more often. Alcoholic drinks can also cause mouth cancer and if you smoke and drink then this makes you more at higher risk. Some alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar, even some mixed drinks may contain acids. So they can cause decay or erosion if you drink them often and in large amounts.

Oral Hygiene

It is very important that you keep up a good routine at home to keep your teeth and gums healthy. We recommend that you:

      • Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. This means brushing them in the way that your dentist or hygienist has shown you.
      • Clean in between your teeth with 'interdental' brushes or floss as brushing alone only cleans up to about 60 percent of the surface of your teeth.
      • Use a mouthwash at a different time of day to when you clean your teeth. Many of them contain antibacterial ingredients to help prevent gum disease, and fluoride to help prevent decay. It can also help to freshen your breath.

Visit the dentist regularly

Regular visits to the dentist will allow you to keep on top of oral hygiene and also allow to the dentist to pick things up earlier rather than later. Often if an oral condition is picked up early, treatment is far simpler and less extensive, then if left to the later stages which can often mean tooth extraction is required.