Preventive dentistry

Brushing & Flossing

The cornerstone to a good oral hygiene regimen is proper brushing and flossing habits. For more on brushing and flossing, see our Brushing & Flossing section.

Tooth Decay Prevention

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in our everyday diet. When sugar is metabolized by bacteria, acids are produced as a waste product by the bacteria.  As a result, the acid comes into contact with our teeth to break down the enamel that protects our teeth.  This is what causes tooth decay.   Tooth decay that is diagnosed and treated early in the process is often much less invasive.  In the course of treatment, your dentist will remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. If left untreated, nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require Endodontic treatment and/or a crown). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing at least twice a day, regular dental checkups, healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly dental treatments.


The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.