Prevention is the best
Dental experts agree, the key to a great smile is regular, preventive care. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste and flossing and rinsing daily. And don't forget to replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. Children's toothbrushes may need replacing even more often.
The ADA and the Academy of General Dentistry recommend a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year. This visit routinely includes a medical history update, removal of plaque and tartar, oral cancer exam, evaluation of gum tissue, brushing and flossing instruction, x-rays, treatment planning and referral to specialists for special conditions such as gum disease. Your dentist may also evaluate cosmetic and restorative options to help improve your smile.
Systemic fluoride, like that found in most public water supplies, is absorbed easily into tooth enamel, especially in children's growing teeth, and makes the teeth more resistant to decay. Topical fluoride, on the other hand, is added to many toothpastes and mouth rinses to further enhance cavity protection. Occasionally, professionally administered fluoride gels or varnishes are recommended especially for patients with a high risk of tooth decay. Auburn Village Family Dental Center offers in-office fluoride treatments for at-risk patients as well as at-home gels by prescription.
Another popular cavity prevention technique is the application of a thin plastic film, or sealant, to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars). According to the Academy of General Dentistry, scientific studies indicated that properly applied sealants are 100% effective in protecting tooth surfaces from decay.
Sealant treatments are painless and may take between five and 45 minutes per application, depending on the number of teeth being sealed. While children receive the greatest benefit from sealants, others who are cavity-prone — including adults whose teeth have deep pits or grooves — may also benefit. Ask Dr. Ciaramitaro whether you and your family are candidates for dental sealants as a means to better oral health.