Preventive dentistry is the area of dentistry that helps people avoid or delay the beginning or progression of oral disease. Preventive dentistry includes two aspects of dental care to help patients avoid dental disease or to catch it in its early, more treatable stages.
First it includes oral hygiene performed by the patient at home: Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste after each meal (at least twice a day) and flossing before bedtime. Preventive dentistry also includes those procedures done by the dental team to maintain healthy teeth and gums. The American Dental Association recommends professional dental cleanings and thorough head and neck examinations twice a year to look for early signs of tooth decay, bruxism or TMJ problems, gum disease, soft tissue changes leading to oral cancer, etcetera.