Does your smile look this healthy?
Preventive Dentistry – the best game in town
Teeth are valuable! In fact, your mouth’s economic value is over $100,000, and that is on the low side. A dental implant and crown, the most lifelike tooth replacement, cost about $5000 each, and most people have 28 teeth in order to smile and chew well. Doesn’t it make sense to protect such a valuable asset?
Clean teeth and gums do not get decay or gum disease; it is simple as that. Teeth will last a lifetime if certain things are done correctly.
You can follow an MD’s advice on prevention of disease like heart disease, diabetes and cancer and improve your odds but there are still no guarantees. Teeth are different than the rest of your body. If one starts with healthy teeth and gums and keeps them 100% clean, decay and gum disease will not occur. I have been in the prevention business for 20 years and know I am right!
Biofilm is a mat of bacteria that join together to make a protective, slick, slimy film. The bacteria are interlocked and form a wall that protects a vast community of bacteria underneath. Biofilm is everywhere including commodes, slick river rocks, wet slick cement etc. Oh yes…and also in your MOUTH!
One of the most known and most studied biofilm is dental plaque. The mass of different bacteria in dental plaque is the cause of both decay and gum disease. Dentists and the media call this type of biofilm plaque. When free calcium, which exists in saliva, embeds itself in this mat-like film, the substance becomes rock hard and then is called calculus.
It is a complicated subject so I am going to make it easy and simple; no biofilm on teeth or under the gums equals no decay and no gum disease. These two infections cannot exist without biofilm.
Biofilm/plaque forms constantly on the teeth and gums, even when you do not eat! So if you want to be 100% disease free, you will want to clean teeth and gums at least twice a day if not more.
My team and I have found that using a combination of the Sonicare Toothbrush, WaterPik, and dental floss is the very best regimen.
The Sonicare literally explodes the biofilm with its cleaning technique, the WaterPik removes food debris that feed the plaque, and the floss removes the plaque in between the teeth. If you are not using a water lavage and floss, you are not effectively cleaning 40% of all your teeth. Do you really want to miss that much of your teeth?
For most people, biofilm is the cause of their tooth decay and/or gum disease, but there are other factors (like your bite or systemic diseases, etc.) that could be the cause in some people. That is why it is best to have a knowledgeable coach, one who can give you a customized regimen based on what they see in your mouth, because everyone and every mouth is different and therefore has different needs. Dentists and hygienists truly care about preventing disease in your mouth. Let them know what your dental goals are so they can help you achieve them.
For 20 years, I have found this to be 99.9% true— if the dentistry is done right, meaning there are no places for food and plaque to form, and if the patient keeps gums and teeth perfectly clean, there will be no infection. Of course, the key is to start when teeth first erupt during the formative years. If so, you will have children that will be decay free for the rest of their lives. Now that is a great goal.
Dr. Andrea Stevens is a cosmetic and family dentist in practice in Kanata, Ontario. If you have dental questions, you can call her at 613-271-7091 or visit her at kanatacosmeticdentist.com Please also feel free to leave comments or questions below, and Dr. Stevens will be happy to answer!