March is the month for St. Patrick’s Day, for Dentist’s Day (did you miss it on the 6th?) . . . and for food. That’s right, the month of March, along with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has claimed National Nutrition Month as its own.
This year’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” A healthy lifestyle doesn’t just involve what you SHOULDN’T do to stay healthy (eat less fast food, etc.). It also includes things you SHOULD do (exercise more, eat smaller portions) to PREVENT something bad from happening.
You’ve heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here at Prairie Village Dentists, we believe that good health starts with prevention. We want to prevent anything bad from happening to your mouth!
What’s Preventative Dentistry and Why Is It Important to Me?
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “preventative healthcare” thrown around with all of the recent healthcare changes. Preventative healthcare doesn’t just treat your symptoms; it aims to find out what’s CAUSING your symptoms so that the actual problem can be treated.
For example, you can take steps to prevent diabetes instead of waiting until you develop it and then having to take insulin to help treat the symptoms. In the same way, you can take steps to prevent dental issues instead of dealing with the issues after they happen.
There are two types of prevention we’ll talk about that are important to your teeth: routine checkups and a tooth-friendly diet.
Prevention Through Comprehensive Routine Checkups
Although we also treat conditions after they’ve happened to you, a lot of what we do here is preventative healthcare. Because we understand that good health starts with prevention, we devote a lot of time to your routine checkups.
Each time you come in for a checkup, we’ll spend 70 minutes with you, which means we have plenty of time to check out the condition of your mouth.
Yes, you heard us right—70 minutes!
Such a long appointment is rare nowadays, but it allows us to be very thorough and take extra care to help prevent future problems, saving you time and money down the road.
Prevention Through Cleaning and Treatments
At your routine checkup with us, we’ll provide a thorough cleaning, run any necessary diagnostic tests, see if you are at risk for cavities, and detect any problems you might have now or in the future.
One of the preventative treatments we offer at your exam is our CariFree cavity risk assessment test. This allows us to see how much bacteria you have in your mouth so that we can see how much at risk you are of developing cavities. If we know this, we can develop the best plan for you to prevent cavities instead of just filling them after they appear.
Prevention Through Nutrition
Nutrition is another way we encourage you to prevent oral diseases. At your routine checkup, we can provide you with helpful information on some foods you can eat more of and foods you should limit to help keep your mouth healthy for the rest of your life.
If we see that you are at a high risk for developing cavities or other dental problems, we may incorporate dietary changes into your prevention plan so that you can lower your chances of future problems.
Below are a few surprising foods that help keep your mouth healthy. You’ll find a few you should cut back on to keep your pearly whites beautiful and disease-free.
Foods That Can Help Your Teeth
Foods that are high in calcium and phosphates, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, can help keep your teeth strong by restoring minerals to your enamel and keeping your saliva flowing. Saliva is important because it naturally helps prevent cavities by reducing the acid in your mouth.
Fibrous, crunchy fruits and veggies have also been shown to help prevent dental problems. They contain a lot of water, which, like dairy, helps produce saliva. These foods are also good for the rest of your body, especially your heart and digestive tract. Fluoridated water and foods made with it also help keep your teeth healthy.
Foods That Can Harm Your Teeth
There are some foods that can do damage, even permanent damage, to your teeth. They include sweets, sodas, and many starchy foods.
Everyone loves sweets, including most of us! Too many sugary foods like candy and pastries can cause plaque to build up on your teeth. These can contribute to gum disease. Also, the sugar from sweets is converted to acid, which can erode your teeth and destroy your enamel. Carbonated sodas are both acidic and sugary, so they have the same effect on your teeth as sweets. You should also try to limit foods that are high in carbohydrates. Mostly potato chips and pretzels, because they get stuck in your teeth. They tend to cause dental problems from all that buildup over time.
Let Us Help You Stay Healthy With Preventative Care!
It’s never too early or too late to start taking care of your smile. Constantly work towards preventing diseases, cavities, and other oral-related conditions.
Contact us today to set up a routine checkup. Our staff can help you prevent problems and keep you on track to a healthier lifestyle—and a healthier smile.