Is Dental Prophylaxis as Serious as It Sounds?
- Aug 8 2019
What is dental prophylaxis?
If someone from your dentist’s office calls and says it is time to schedule you for your dental prophylaxis appointment, it is something that you should take seriously. This is not because some major issue has been detected that requires extensive dental work but rather to prevent that from happening.
We get the word “prophylaxis” from the Greek, “prophylaktikós”. It means to prevent; to protect or to guard against. A dental prophylaxis is a technical term for the cleaning that you should be getting from your dental hygienist every six months. This cleaning plays a very important role in protecting your teeth from the difficult, if not impossible, to clean the buildup of plaque and tartar, which are what lead to those serious dental issues.
Dental Hygiene Recommended Practices
There are a lot of things that you can do to improve and maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Some of the most common recommendations include:
- Consistent brushing: teeth should be brushed at least twice a day and more often if sweet, sticky food is consumed or there are noticeable deposits of food stuck between teeth. It is important to make one of those times be before going to sleep at night to remove the day’s accumulation and not allow the germs and plague to sit there through the night.
- Proper brushing: just going through the motions when it comes to brushing is rarely helpful. To make a difference and dislodge food particles and remove plague the toothbrush should be used in a circular motion, not hard enough to damage the gums but with a firm but gentle circular motion. Taking the time to do it right will always be worth the effort.
- Brush the tongue: be sure to include the tongue when you brush. This can also help to prevent bad breath.
- Use a good toothpaste: look beyond the whitening claims and fancy flavors and choose a toothpaste with fluoride so that you will have the advantage of its germ-fighting qualities.
- Flossing: at least once a day, do a thorough job of flossing to remove anything caught or lodged between the teeth. Flossing also has the benefit of stimulating the gums and maintaining enhanced blood flow.
- Watch what you eat and drink: besides the many other reasons to avoid sugar, it is terrible for your teeth. Those sweet treats or sugary drinks that you consume start doing damage in your mouth even before they wreak havoc with the rest of your body. The enamel on your teeth is super strong. Even stronger than bone, tooth enamel is the hardest material in the body. But sugar that remains in the mouth is converted to acid and not even enamel can stand up to its corrosive assault. Be mindful of what you eat and drink and, if you cannot brush right after, drinking more water can help wash out a lot of the sugary residue.
- Keep those twice-yearly checkups and cleanings: unfortunately, even if you do everything right, it is possible for tartar and plague to be missed, especially below the gum line. Thorough cleaning and polishing can help maintain the health of your teeth and gums.
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Categories: Dental Health