This post is sponsored by Dr. Michael K. Frazier with Rochelle Family Dentistry in Rochelle, Georgia.

What is preventative dentistry?

Not necessarily the most common question one might ask, but an important one nonetheless.  It’s interesting when you start to research the subject of preventative dentistry, you’ll find that overall, dentistry is the most proactive practice in preventative medical health.  Based on the general recommendation that you visit your dentist at least twice a year (every six months) for things like checkups, recommendations for dental procedures, etc… it’s understandable how dentistry is seen as “proactive”.  After all, it’s unlikely you are visiting any other doctor more frequently than twice a year, for preventative purposes anyway.

So it’s a fair question then to ask, what exactly is preventative dentistry?

In it’s simplest form, preventative dentistry means teaching the patient how to prevent dental problems in the first place! It is the next best thing to having insurance for teeth.  Within the “teaching” of patients on how to properly care for their teeth, you’ll learn how to properly brush your teeth and floss, learn about the impact of nutrition on your teeth (yep, a lot of that has to do with warnings regarding sugar), and tricks and techniques to maintain the integrity and structure of teeth and oral hygiene.

There are also several procedures that the dentist performs that falls under the umbrella of “preventative dentistry”.  One of the most prominent procedures that would be considered “preventative” is sealants.  A sealant is a layer of a protective, long-lasting special plastic. Your dentist can quickly and easily place this layer on your back teeth to prevent decay. These teeth are the ones that are most likely to decay, which is why they are targeted.  Having sealants enhances the current role of enamel, natures own protective coat on your teeth.  However, depending on the circumstances, your enamel might not be enough to fully protect your teeth – and that’s where sealants come into play.

Fluoride treatments are another great example of a preventative procedure that your dentist can perform.  According to the Colgate website, fluoride is a naturally occurring element that strengthens teeth. This can help to preventtooth decay. Experts say the best way to prevent tooth decay is to use several sources of fluoride.  Fluoride is found naturally in water sources in small amounts. Some foods, such as meat, fish, eggs and tea, contain fluoride. It also is added to water in some areas. Many toothpastes, rinses and professional treatments contain fluoride. Prescription fluoride tablets are available for children who do not get fluoride in their water.

Those are just a couple examples of procedures that your dentist can perform that can help you prevent problems from popping up with your teeth.

So what about you… do you make it a priority to visit your dentist at least twice a year (every six months) in order to keep your teeth in their best possible condition?