Category Archives: Preventative Care
It’s never too early to begin your child’s oral healthcare. Most baby formulas contain sugar. After feeding baby, be sure to gently swab his or her gums with a moist cloth. Babies should into get into the habit of sleeping without a bottle of juice or milk. Liquid will pool in baby’s mouth, which, in the worse case scenario, can result in serious tooth decay. Dentists recommend water for those infants who must have a bottle at nap or bedtime. Be sure to gently swab baby’s gums and erupting teeth until such a time as your dentist recommends regular tooth brushing.
How do I prepare for a dental visit?
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- If you are prone to dental anxiety, eat a high-protein snack and avoid caffeinated or sugary beverages on the day of your visit to help keep you calm.
- If your dental visit coincides with your usual mealtime, bring a healthy snack to much on.
- Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
- Bring a list of medications (name and dosage), as well as the names of your recent and current health care practitioners. Additionally, alert your dentist of any medical conditions you have been diagnosed with.
- Jot down any questions you think of on a notepad. Bring extra paper with you to record the dentist’s answers and any oral care instructions.
Expect your dentist to perform a thorough examination, detect potential problems, and provide an appropriate treatment plan. An initial examination may include some or all of the following procedures:a soft tissue examination; screening and exam for periodontal disease; detailed charting of cavities, existing restorations (fillings and crowns), and other tooth conditions; and an oral cancer screening. Dental x-rays also may be taken to locate any abnormalities or injuries that cannot be detected through a visual exam.
Is it important to share a complete medical history?
Yes. Even if you’ve seen the same dentist for years, communicate any changes in your mouth or medical conditions that have been recently diagnosed. Health conditions, medications – even vitamins- can interfere with routine dental procedures. If you have a medical condition, such as heart-valve problems, recent total joint replacement, or insulin-dependent diabetes, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before your dental visit to prevent the spread of bacteria. these procedures could include professional teeth cleaning, extractions, and implant surgery.
If you are a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, it is important to inform your dentist about your condition. According to the National Institutes for Health, 40 percent of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience oral complications including salivary gland dysfunction, which leads to dry mouth rampant dental decay, and painful mouth sores. The more your dentist knows about your medical history and overall health, the better he or she is able to develop a personalized dental treatment plan to help improve your quality of life.
Are routine visits necessary?
Yes. Make sure to get regular dental checkups at least every six months to maintain healthy teeth and gums. But it is important to know that achieving optimum oral health requires more than regular checkups: it requires you to be an informed patient and an active participant in your own health. Ask your dentist questions about results for your check up and any recommended treatment. If you have researched an oral health problem, the information that you gather can help you identify health concerns and ask the right questions.
Do I need to discuss payment arrangements before my visit?
Payment requirements vary with each dental office, so it’s a good idea to discuss this with the receptionist before your next visit. Making payment arrangements ahead of time also can help reduce pre-visit related stress. If possible, find out what services your dental insurance covers. Ask whether your dentist accepts this kind of insurance and about what payment options are offered.
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
If you cannot keep a scheduled dental appointment, don’t’ wait until the last minute to cancel or now show up at all. Since staff has set up a specific time slot for your oral health care, you should provide as much notice as possible of cancellation. Penalties for missed appointments vary from office to office and some may charge you for failure to cancel . While some emergencies may make it difficult to provide advance notice, 24 hours is recommended.
If you’re unsure about what to ask your dentist, try these questions:
- What type of toothbrush and floss is best for me?
- Am I brushing and flossing effectively?
- Are my teeth and gums healthy?
What causes tooth decay?
After eating and drinking, food particles are inevitably left in the mouth and on the surface of your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth devour the food and a byproduct of their feast is acid, which can eat a hole–or cavity– in the tooth’s enamel. Left untreated, the cavity can cause considerable pain, and destroy the dentin, pulp, and the tooth’s nerve. Thus, diet and nutrition play a major role in oral health and the incidence of tooth decay.
What foods cause cavities?
Many kinds of food can cause cavities. Foods high in sugar, starch and carbohydrates are particularly problematic because they provide the bacteria with a high-energy source. Also, sticky foods, such as raisins, caramel and honey, adhere to tooth surfaces and are a favorite of bacteria because it is a lasting food source.
Diet plays a major role in the prevention of tooth decay. Increased consumption of poor food choices increases the chances for tooth decay.
Do certain foods help prevent cavities?
Some research says certain foods, such as peanuts or sugar-free chewing gum, may be “friendly” to teeth. Eating these foods along with or after foods that contain carbohydrates may help to counter the effects of acids produced bacteria. Drinking plenty of water can help wash away food particles. Of course, dentists encourage their patients to eschew these sugary snacks in favor of healthy alternatives, such as fruit.
How can I avoid cavities?
Regular brushing, flossing and dental check ups can significantly reduce the chances of tooth decay. Dentists recommend that people brush their teeth at least twice a day for two to four minutes each time. Brushing removes bacteria as well as the food debris bacteria thrive on. You should follow brushing with flossing, which reaches areas of your mouth your toothbrush cannot.
Drink plenty of fluoridated water and brush with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride strengthens enamel. Beware of bottled water, however, because some companies do not fluoridate their product. If the water supply in your community is not fluoridated, see your dentist about fluoride treatments.
What else can I do to prevent cavities?
When you eat meals or snacks containing sugars or carbohydrates, follow the meal with water to help wash off food particles remaining on the teeth.
Keep a toothbrush and toothpaste handy; children can keep travel size products in lockers or back packs and adults should keep a spare pair at work. Chew sugarless gum (with or without xylitol) after meals or snacks when unable to brush. Drink water throughout the day to help cleanse teeth of excess bacteria and food debris, and keep the mouth hydrated.
One way to help prevent cavities is to limit the amount of foods that contain sugars, avoid between meal snacks when possible. If you do eat foods that contain sugars, eat them during meals. Saliva production increases during a meal and helps to neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.
Finally, see your dentist at least twice a year. Your dentist can catch minor problems before they become major ones. Your dentist can give you tops on foods to avoid and how to keep your mouth healthy. Also, dentist can inform you of medications that may cause dry mouth, which makes your teeth more susceptible to decay.