Consistently take good care of your teeth and they could last a lifetime.
It’s a simple message from Dr. Reid Stone, DDS of Northern Hills Dental in Lead, but one that’s sometimes easily overlooked, causing patients unwanted dental bills and dental ills.
“Preventative care in dentistry has allowed people to keep their teeth longer, if not for their lifetime,” Stone said. “We can clean the tartar from your teeth and prevent gum disease and cavities. If there are cavities, we can catch them when they are small and the least expensive to repair. Nothing is better or cheaper than maintaining your natural teeth.
Stone said the more a patient practices these basic preventative measures, the less they will have to see their dentist.
“Considering a healthy patient, the things people should be doing are very basic,” Stone said. “Brush at least twice a day, floss at last once per day and see a dental professional every six months. I can’t stress enough the importance of good home care in conjunction with professional care. When your mouth is not healthy (e.g. periodontal (gum) disease), it make take a little more effort at home and seeing a dental professional more frequently.”
For example, Stone says he and his staff see a lot of decay between the teeth when the patient does not floss.
“There is a direct benefit between the prevention of tooth decay between the teeth and prevention of gum disease when patients floss regularly,” he said.
In addition to professional dental services, Northern Hills Dental recommends using power brushes, prescription strength fluoride toothpastes, and oral rinses to prevent cavities and gum disease.
While most people know the basics regarding preventative dental care, there are some surprising practices that can lead to positive results.
“Many people don’t realize the hidden sugars in foods such as starches,” Stone said. “When there is plaque on the tooth, oral bacteria hold onto that area and eat the sugar in our diet. The bacteria’s waste product is acid. That acid will concentrate to the plaque areas and cause tooth decay. Most sugar substitutes create their own acid. Simply rinsing with water each time you drink or eat sugary foods will help remove the acid.”
Overall, Stone said the most important thing patients can do in regard to preventative dental care is to actually do it.
“I know it seems like a chore, but when you think about it, there are several times during the day you can find time to do the necessary things like flossing,” he explained. “If you watch several hours of TV each day, you can floss your teeth for (at most) five minutes during that time. You will be surprised how well you can floss without a mirror and how well you will do if you simply do it.”
If you have questions on this topic and would like to reach out to Dr. Stone, contact him at DrStone@NorthernHillsDentist.com.
As published by the Black Hills Pioneer Inside Scoop on March 7, 2017