The Role of Preventive Dentistry – Safeguarding Your Oral Health for Life

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The same principle applies to dental care. If you take steps to prevent issues such as tooth decay and gum disease from developing, you can enjoy a functional and aesthetically pleasing smile for your entire life. Moreover, preventive dentistry helps you save time and money in the long run since routine check-ups and cleanings are less costly than the extensive dental treatments required to address serious oral health conditions.

Preventive dentistry starts with baby teeth, which begin erupting during childhood. Parents should clean their infants’ gums after feedings, and teach them how to brush and floss their teeth daily. A consistent oral hygiene regimen also helps to avert serious dental problems such as periodontal (gum) disease, which can destroy the gum tissues and jaw bones.

It’s important for adults to continue with a good oral health routine, including regular brushing and flossing. Flossing is especially important, as it helps to remove food particles and plaque in hard-to-reach places that a toothbrush can’t reach. Other preventive measures include eating a balanced diet that limits sugary and acidic foods, and drinking plenty of water.

In addition to preventing cavities and other oral diseases, preventive dentistry includes screenings for serious illnesses, such as oral cancer, which is highly treatable when caught early. Regular visits to a Northbrook dentist allow your provider to screen for these and other issues, such as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), which may cause headaches and misalignment of the jaw joint over time.

Many people neglect routine oral health care in favor of more pressing concerns, such as work or family obligations. However, it’s essential to make dental visits a priority, so your Northbrook dentist can identify issues in the earliest stages and recommend treatment before they become more serious.

In addition, it’s a good idea to understand your dental insurance coverage. Many plans cover preventive services like routine cleanings and X-rays, while other services require a co-payment or have limitations. It’s best to contact your provider directly to determine your specific coverage.