By Vishant Nath DMD
For most people, our teeth are strongest and healthiest when they first erupt from the gums. This is true for both primary and permanent teeth. Once the health of a tooth is compromised, it’s difficult to return it to that strong, healthy, original state. This article will provide information on the importance of using good hygiene to maintain healthy teeth, and how to best care for teeth which have been restored.
The most ideal situation of course is to keep teeth healthy and not have to drill, fill or otherwise bother the tooth structure. Once a tooth has developed a cavity, even with modern dental techniques, its difficult to completely restore the tooth back to its original healthy state. So the first priority is to establish correct and consistent hygiene techniques. When these habits are established during childhood, it’s much easier to carry them through to adulthood. Both primary and permanent teeth require daily hygiene. This includes brushing at least twice a day and daily flossing to remove food particles from in between teeth. This must be done on a consistent basis. It truly needs to become established as part of a daily routine in order to effectively protect the tooth structure from damage. The second part of having good hygiene is making it a point to visit your dentist every six months for cleaning, x-rays and exams.
So, let’s say that due to any number of circumstances, your child develops cavities or tooth decay. Its important to remember that there are dental techniques that can be used to attempt to restore the tooth. When these restorative techniques are utilized, it’s even more important to develop good hygiene as follow-up. Follow your dentist’s advice regarding which foods to avoid to maintain the integrity of the fillings. As part of daily hygiene, take a quick look inside your child’s mouth and examine the filling to make sure it has not become chipped or otherwise damaged. As stated above, twice-yearly dental visits are equally important. Your dentist can examine each filling to make sure that it is still working to protect the tooth from further damage or decay.
The bottom line is it’s never too late to develop good oral hygiene. It does take a conscious effort to follow through on establishing a daily hygiene routine and complementing this at home care with twice-yearly dental visits. Take the time to take care of your child’s teeth. It is time well spent!