Dental caries or cavities cause significant dental health and overall health problems. Researchers have found conclusive links between gum disease, poor dental health and heart disease and stroke. With poor dental health people most often also have poor nutrition and a poor immune system leading to other illnesses and diseases. This means that the health of your mouth affects your overall health. While there are options to restore and repair your natural teeth this is infinitely more difficult than using preventative care of dental caries.
Some of the repair procedures that dentists can use are crowns, tooth colored fillings, bridges, dentures and full mouth reconstruction. These procedures are time consuming, expensive and often don’t last a lifetime. This means you’ll need further work as you grow older.
Dental cavities are the most common chronic disease that children suffer in the United States. Because of the importance of identifying poor oral health early it is recommended that all children have their first dental visit by the time they are one year old.
Preventative care of dental caries is important in younger children because this is when good habits are formed. Children who are taught when they are young how to do preventative care of dental caries are more likely to continue to care for their teeth as young adults. This decreases their risk of cavities, gum disease and poor nutrition.
Children with special health care needs are more likely to receive appropriate preventative dental visits because they are already in the health care system. Other children, who are from low income families and those from Hispanic families seem to have the lowest rates of preventative dental care.
Preventative care of dental caries begins with good tooth brushing techniques and flossing every night. Children can be taught proper techniques by using songs and modeling. They can also be taught how to floss using a floss holder that makes placing the floss string between the teeth properly. Children should be taught to floss daily at night. Flossing at night should be done after all eating is finished and children should be encouraged not to eat after they are finished flossing and brushing.
Preventative care of dental caries also includes good nutrition that will support the immune system. The body’s immune system should be strong to fight the bacterial infections that cause plaque build up. The plaque build up will cause tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to loss of teeth. Good nutrition and the proper amount of calcium will support the bones that hold the teeth in place and the vascular system that supports the gums.
Journal of the American Dental Association: Trends in Preventative Care: Caries Risk Assessment and indications for Sealants
Journal of Dental Research: Patient Stratification for Preventative Care in Dentistry
Dental Care: Caries Process and Prevention Strategies: Prevention
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: Guideline on Periodicity of Examination, Preventive Dental Services, Anticipatory Guidance and Oral Treatment for Infants, Children and Adolescents
International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry: Preventative Aspects in Children’s Caries Treatments Preceding Dental Care Under General Anaesthesia
Medical Science Monitor: Dental Plaque, Preventive Care, and Tooth Brushing Associated with Dental Caries in Primary Teeth in schoolchildren Ages 6-9 Years of leon, Nicaragua
Dental Caries Prevention: The Physician’s Role in Child Oral Health Systematic Evidence Review
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Dental Care