Ben Franklin said that, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and while he was talking about fire prevention at the time, his advice is just as true when it comes to dental health.

Give anyone a choice between preventing cavities or having fillings done on their teeth and it’s no secret which option most people would pick. And while there is no 100 percent guarantee against cavities, there are several simple things that can be done to help prevent them.

Establishing good oral habits – brushing at least twice a day, flossing, a getting professional dental check-ups and cleanings every six months – is the easiest and most effective way to prevent cavities and other dental problems. Recently, we discussed dental sealants as a good cavity deterrent for children.

These sealants are typically recommended for children whose permeant molars have recently erupted. A special coating is painted on the molars, providing extra protection against decay during the years when children are prone to forget or not brush as well as they should.

Another option that the Just Wright Dental team recommends, particularly for children is the application of fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in many foods and water. Every day minerals are both lost and added to the enamel of our teeth. Acids formed from the bacteria in our mouths attack the enamel causing minerals to be lost and the enamel to be weakened. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium and more are redeposited to the tooth’s surface in various ways, such as from foods we eat ingest and fluorinated toothpaste.

As long as the amount of minerals lost doesn’t exceed the amount replaced, there is typically no problem. But if tooth enamel isn’t remineralized properly, it can lead to cavities. To help ensure this doesn’t happen, we recommend children receive annual fluoride treatments. These special treatments, which most often are covered by dental insurance, are typically done during a routine dental cleaning. The fluoride coating is applied to the teeth in just a matter of minutes and can provide an extra level of protection against cavities.

While these treatments are most often recommended for children and teens, (particularly those in braces), many adults can benefit from them as well. Patients who have had a lot of recent decay, those who suffer persistent dry mouth or patients who will soon be undergoing radiation treatments, all would benefit greatly from professional fluoride treatments.  Keep your smile strong and beautiful. Call Just Wright Dental today to help ensure a healthier smile tomorrow.

By Dr. Justin Wright, DDS
Special to the Richland Chambers Progress