How to Prevent Dental Issues Before They Start. Whittier CA

How to Prevent Dental Issues Before They Start?

According to the CDC, as of 2019, just 65% of American adults had visited a dentist in the last year, so if you haven't kept up with preventive dental care, you're not alone. But by being proactive about oral health, you and your family can save time, money, and potential pain, discomfort, and illness.

There are many ways that both you and a dental care team like Dentists of Whittier can work together to prevent dental issues, and we will share those strategies with you here.


It's important to understand the stakes of neglecting preventive dental care, because there are many issues that can develop when dental health is ignored.


Cavities are holes in a tooth’s surface that occur when plaque (a layer of bacteria) and erosion break down the tooth’s enamel. You may not notice them until significant damage has already occurred to the interior parts of the tooth, causing pain, sensitivity, or discoloration.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is another common result of a lack of preventive dental care. It is caused by plaque build-up, especially when plaque isn't brushed away and is able to harden into tartar. The first, mild stage is called gingivitis: a swelling and inflammation at the base of your teeth that is easily treatable.

However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, in which the gums recede and open pockets around the base of the teeth, creating more space for plaque and tartar to build. More advanced periodontitis can lead to lingering bad breath, bleeding gums, and tooth loss.

Systemic Issues

Poor oral health can lead to issues affecting the entire body, so it's critical to stay on top of your preventive care.

Periodontitis, for example, can lead to coronary artery disease, endocarditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and respiratory diseases like pneumonia because of bacteria entering the bloodstream through the gums. Left unchecked, oral cancers can spread to other parts of the body; your dentist can catch early signs of these highly treatable cancers during an exam.

Certain health conditions can also affect the mouth and teeth, so those with conditions like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, acid reflux, and osteoporosis should take special care to regularly visit the dentist. Preventive care will help you manage any ways that these conditions might affect your oral health.

Other Costs of Skipping Preventive Dental Care

Finally, any restorative care that comes about from a lack of prevention can be costly and painful, with more downtime needed for recovery. Investing in preventive care can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in restorative and emergency care.

As you can see, it is far better for your health and your wallet to prioritize preventive dental care and avoid these issues before they begin.


Your daily oral health habits are a cornerstone of preventive care, and there are a range of actions you can take at home to prevent dental issues.

How to Keep Your Mouth Free of Plaque and Bacteria

Twice-daily brushing, two minutes each time, and daily flossing are your most important tools for dental health. Try to wait an hour after eating to brush; this allows enamel to re-harden after temporarily becoming softer while eating.

If you snack on acidic or sugary food or drinks between meals and brushing, rinse with water or chew sugar-free gum to help keep plaque from forming. Mouthwash is also useful between brushing to kill bacteria, add fluoride, and freshen breath.

What Lifestyle Habits Help Prevent Dental Issues?

Aside from regular brushing and flossing, there are plenty of choices you can make that will keep your teeth in good health..

Avoiding sugary and acidic drinks

The less sugar and acid that contact your teeth, the better. If you do drink soda, use a straw so that the drink touches as few teeth as possible.

Not smoking, chewing tobacco, or vaping

There are strong correlations between smoking and untreated tooth decay and tooth loss, and tobacco use is linked directly to oral cancers. Vaping can cause dry mouth (allowing plaque to flourish), damage the healthy microbiome of the mouth, and quickly lead to periodontitis.

Eating a nutritious diet


Biannual trips to the dentist provide the other vital facets of preventive dental care. While your daily habits are important, there are necessary services and tools only a dentist can provide.

Dental Cleanings and Exams

During a cleaning, a hygienist will floss for you and remove plaque and tartar by scaling and polishing the teeth. If you or your child need a fluoride treatment, the hygienist will perform it.

During the exam portion of your visit, the dentist will check your teeth for cavities and your gums for indications of gum disease. They will also examine your mouth and throat for any symptoms of oral cancer and keep an eye on previous restorative work like fillings, crowns, and implants to make sure they stay in good condition.

If your hygienist or dentist catch any issues, they will make a treatment plan with you to bring your teeth back to full health.


X-rays are an essential diagnostic tool for preventive care. Various types of X-rays show impacted or damaged teeth and signs of cavities and gum disease. Regular X-rays are also used to track children’s tooth development.

Other Preventive Services

Certain preventive care services are only covered by dental insurance for children, but may also be worth discussing with your dentist as an adult.

For example, sealants are smooth coatings that fill the indentations of the teeth’s chewing surfaces to limit contact with plaque in hard-to-clean areas. Dental sealants can prevent up to 80% of cavities in children.

Fluoride treatments in the form of a gel or varnish are another preventive care tool. The mineral fluoride is critical for developing teeth in children and can also be a valuable layer of protection against decay for adult teeth.


Regular appointments with your dentist provide them with an opportunity to check in on your home dental care. They can demonstrate proper flossing, tell you if you're missing spots while brushing, fit you for a mouthguard, and recommend dental care products best-suited to your needs.


Now that you know how to stop dental issues before they start, we hope you’ll come see us at Dentists of Whittier for your preventive and other dentistry needs in the Los Angeles area. We look forward to working with you to restore and maintain your healthy smile for years to come.

Schedule your dental cleaning and exam today with Dentists of Whittier and prevent dental issues before they begin. Get in touch with us at (562) 414-5025.


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