The Value of Prevention
We’ve all heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But aside from remembering an old cliché, not much more thought is given to the meaning behind those words.
Yet there are many things in our lives where we employ the prevention model. Getting your oil changed when the maintenance light pops on to prevent your engine from blowing up or servicing your air conditioning before the heat of summer rolls in. But do we have the same philosophy regarding our own bodies? Mammograms, colonoscopies, and annual physicals are all ways we can employ a prevention mindset to ourselves.
How about in our mouths? Visiting your dental hygienist at the interval recommended for you could help prevent the progression of disease. Both cavities and gum disease significantly impact the population. And both are preventable.
If you’re already no stranger to the dental chair, how about a prevention mindset to protect the investment you’ve made in your mouth? We can’t go back and undo the past, but we can work to change the future. You aren't destined to continue the cycle if you already have a history of cavities or gum disease.
Much like that car you take in for service, wash, and vacuum once and a while, and repair when needed, your restorations will last much longer if you take care of them. And where you get your care matters too. I’d much rather take my car to a mechanic that looks into the future and thinks about how to keep my car running for as long as possible. And we want to practice the same prevention-focused dentistry.
Believe me, just like you don’t want to call us with an emergency on Christmas morning, we don’t want to rush into the office.
What can you do at home to protect your dental work and prevent further disease?
I know this one has been drilled into your head. But new research backs up that effective brushing twice a day can impact not only your teeth but you’re less likely to have a heart attack if you brush twice a day. Yep, you read it right. Less likely to have a heart attack with good oral health.
Electric toothbrushes are helpful tools to improve your brushing success. Some even come with Bluetooth technology to tell you where you missed and if you are brushing too hard to too soft. Ask your hygienist to stain your teeth at the beginning of the appointment so you can get an idea of where you might be missing.
Notice we didn’t say flossing. Not that we don’t like flossing. But so many of you have a hard time with floss or can’t seem to get the technique just right. So, let’s get creative. There are little brushes that can fit in between your teeth or soft toothpicks with bristles that will disrupt the plaque that likes to hide out of reach of your toothbrush bristles.
Waterflossers are also a great adjunct to your homecare routine. Some models offer different tips to get to some of those hard-to-reach areas. Talk to your dental team for suggestions to get the most benefit from your device.
Despite all you heard about the sugar bugs growing up, it’s not just sugar that causes cavities. We are learning more about the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease and that it loves to feed on simple carbohydrates. And those bugs love an acidic environment.
Different foods and drinks cause the pH in your mouth to drop, making that perfect acidic paradise for bacteria to flourish. Depending on the health of your mouth and the type of food or drink, your pH might get back to neutral quickly, or it might take a long time. There are test strips to test both pH and buffering capacity (how fast your pH returns to neutral). These assessments will give you a baseline and help you understand how your mouth reacts to different foods.
Perio Tray™ Therapy
Perio Protect is our secret weapon to lay the prevention framework. The Perio Tray is a medicament carrier that delivers medication deep below your gums. Many of us wear them daily in the shower to do all we can to keep our mouths (and bodies) as healthy as possible.
Not only does Perio Tray™ therapy act as an adjunct in the fight against gum disease and decay, but it will also help protect the dental work you might have spent hours in the dental chair receiving. Who wants to go back and have work redone? Much less pay for something twice.
We want you to be a long-time patient. We love getting to know you and your family. Hearing about your vacations and accomplishments brings joy. We hope our prevention-focused care will help you live a long, healthy life. And keep you out of the dental chair and off creating memories.