“If there is one thing that can save you from spending time, effort, and money on Dental Treatments, it is the age old adage – Prevention is better than cure.”
Preventive Dentistry At Balaji Dental Centre
Ask an expert about the art and science of Preventive Dentistry
As part of our endeavour of becoming the most ethical dental practice in India, we focus a lot on Preventive Dentistry and emphasise on the importance of adopting a routine for complete oral hygiene and dental health. We believe in a combination of at-home oral care, chair-side dental treatments, and comprehensive counseling by dental professionals for Preventive Dentistry to be most effective.
At BDC, we recommend a minimum of two dental checkups a year to ensure professional cleaning and management of developing conditions, if any. Adhering to this recommendation can be instrumental in helping us stop a dental disease in its early stages, thereby protecting your smile and your wallet.
Technology of Early Prevention
What is Early Prevention
Parents should adopt a habit of daily tooth-cleaning as soon as their child’s first tooth erupts. At the same time, they should visit us as soon as it occurs, or no later than the time the child reaches 12 months of age, to allow us to establish a comprehensive oral health prevention program for your child.
Preventive Dentistry Strategies
The most important prevention technique for dental health is one that is commonly known but rarely followed – brushing and flossing at least twice-a-day or after every meal, if possible. Doing it regularly removes Dental Plaque, which is a film-like coating that forms on your teeth. It can build-up over time to produce dental tartar, which is a hard, sticky substance conducive to growth of acid-producing bacteria that causes tooth decay and leads to gum disease.
Fluoride is a mineral that gets easily absorbed into tooth enamel and strengthens tooth structure, making teeth more resistant to decay. It even repairs and remineralizes areas in which decay has already begun thereby reversing the process and creating a decay-resistant tooth surface. We can provide Fluoride treatments if required though regular usage of Fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouth-rinses at home is usually enough. Though, mouth-rinses are not suitable for children that are less than six years of age since they may swallow the rinse.
Another effective yet simple method to maintain good dental health is to have a balanced diet. Diet rich in sugars and carbohydrates is bad for teeth as these feed the bacteria that produce dental plaque. At the same time, not having enough calcium in your diet can increase the chances of developing gum (periodontal) disease and jaw deterioration.
Acidic food and drinks can cause dental erosion (gradual dissolving of the tooth enamel). Food items and drinks with low 'pH values' are acidic. Items with high 'pH values' can cancel out their acidic effect. Water is the best solution for such issues.
Too much snacking between meals can aggravate situations if the snacks are high in sugar, carbohydrates, and other acidic content.
A lot of people express concern about the impact of sugar on dental health. One needs to remember that the amount of sugar you eat or drink is not as important as the number of times you eat or drink sugary items. Sweet foods are okay as long as you take them at mealtimes rather than take them whenever you feel like. The same applies for fruity and aerated drinks. We recommend only sugar-free drinks as such drinks can accelerate teeth decay as much as too much candy and chocolate can.
Between meals, you can prevent acid attack on your teeth by chewing sugar-free gum as it produces more saliva in the mouth, which is the best natural defense against acid. However, make sure it is sugar-free as regular chewing gum contains sugar and it can make the situation even worse.
Quite often, by the time we become conscious of dental afflictions, they have already caused significant damage. It usually happens as such conditions are painless in initial stages and because we do not go for regular dental check-ups (every six months is recommended). You should get your teeth checked regularly not just for regular issues but even for early signs of abnormal tissue growth and Oral Cancer. Regular check-ups are even more important for children to keep tabs on oral growth and development as well as prevention of cavities.
We recommend a Dental Cleaning (Prophylaxis) every six months in order to remove dental plaque and stains you’re unable to remove yourself and to check for signs of tooth decay.
There are occasions when dental problems are not easily visible to the naked eye and for such problems, such as cavities between teeth and problems below the gum line, X-rays allow us to look closer and deeper.
Custom-made Mouth guards can be worn during sports activities to protect against broken teeth. These are used to treat teeth grinding (bruxism) too, which can wear down teeth and contribute to Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder.
A bad bite (Malocclusion) can hamper even simple tasks like eating and speaking and crooked teeth are hard to keep clean. We can correct an improper bite with Orthodontics using dental braces or clear teeth aligners (invisible braces), such as Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, in order to limit the possibility of dental problems in future.
Sealants are thin, composite coatings placed on the chewing surfaces of back permanent teeth to protect your child’s teeth from decay.
Smoking, chewing of tobacco, and consumption of alcohol can affect your oral health negatively. These can give rise to an array of issues like dry mouth, discoloration of teeth, plaque build-up, gum disease, tooth loss, and even oral cancer.
Just like Fluoride treatment, a treatment with Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP) might help in restoring the necessary mineral balance of calcium and phosphate in the mouth as these are the natural building blocks of teeth. ACP application strengthens tooth enamel and prevents dentin hypersensitivity. Xylitol, a natural sweetener made from birch trees, has been clinically proven as helpful in reduction of cavities and prevention of tooth decay and gum disease. We recommend Xylitol as a sugar substitute in cooking and baking, or beverages.
Oral Care Products
There are a lot of oral care products available today. Our dental team will be able to recommend the best toothbrush and toothpaste for you to use, as well as the best way to clean between your teeth.
- Inter-dental Brushes and Floss
- Water jets
For toothbrushes, it is usually recommended that adults use a toothbrush with a small to medium-sized head with multi-tufted, medium filaments (bristles). These filaments should be round-ended and made from nylon. You can use a power toothbrush, with head that either rotates and oscillates or pulsates, if you have limited movement or find cleaning particularly difficult. In case of children, look for a small-headed toothbrush with soft nylon bristles. There are many novelty toothbrushes for children that help encourage them to brush for the correct length of time. Children under the age of 7 should be supervised while brushing.
There are several toothpastes available today that cater to specific needs. There are toothpastes specifically for gum health, sensitive teeth, and ones with anti-bacterial agents for smokers, and yet others that help with restoration of natural whiteness of your teeth.
There are several toothpastes that contain ‘desensitising agents' to help reduce the pain of sensitive teeth. Some people find that rubbing such toothpaste along the affected area and leaving it on overnight helps ease the discomfort.
Now-a-days, several toothpastes containing special mineral salts and plant extracts are available too. In addition, there are several ‘Total Care’ toothpastes today that contain a number of ingredients like anti-bacterial agents, agents that help control plaque and prevent gum disease, fluoride to help prevent tooth decay, flavours that help freshen the breath, and, sometimes, even whitening or tartar-control agents. Our dental team can recommend the most suitable toothpaste for your needs.
Inter-dental Brushes and Floss
Teeth have five surfaces and simple brushing cleans only three of those. Therefore, it is important to use inter-dental brushes or floss to clean the spaces between teeth. ‘Inter-dental' brushes are special brushes with specially-shaped bristles and are generally colour-coded for different-sized gaps between your teeth. Dental Floss can be used for the purpose too and some people prefer tape to floss, as it is wider and can be gentler on the gums. There are several different types of dental floss or tape available including mint-flavoured, wax-coated, and fluoride-based.
You can use a high-pressure jet of water too for the purpose of cleaning inter-dental spaces. A water-jet is particularly useful for people with bridges and implants or those who have difficulty using inter-dental brushes or floss to clean in between their teeth regularly.
We recommend using a mouthwash as part of your daily oral health routine. Mouthwashes containing anti-bacterial ingredients can help reduce plaque and prevent gum disease in addition to preventing decay (due to Fluoride), freshening of breath, and washing away bits of food. Mouthwashes containing Chlorhexidine are quite effective at treating gum infections.
Probiotics are ‘friendly' bacteria that are commonly used to aid healthy digestion. There are now ‘oral' probiotics available to help keep up the balance between friendly bacteria and harmful bacteria in your mouth and, thereby, prevent plaque build-up, gum disease, and bad breath.
Importance of Caries Risk Assessment
We, at BDC, can build a prevention program customized according to an individual’s Caries Risk Assessment Profile. Such an assessment takes into account the following:
- Number of existing Carious lesions: Individuals with two or more may be considered to be at a high risk of developing Caries in the future
- Fluoride exposure
- Salivary flow rate
- Medication use: Some medicines contain high amounts of sugar or may decrease saliva flow and can contribute to cavities
- Age: Each age group – children, teens, adults and seniors – has its own set of associated risks.
- Income, education and oral health attitude: Research shows that those who have low incomes or lower education and achievement are likelier to have severe and untreated dental decay.
- Clinical variables such as number of filled/restored or missing teeth