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As with your car, preventative maintenance is the best form of care. Just as you should change the oil and maintain other fluid levels in your car to avoid a major repair, brushing and flossing daily will help you to avoid a major dental repair. And as your car should go in for a regular checkup to diagnose any problems you may not know about, you should visit your dentist annually for a checkup and cleaning. This will diagnose any cavities so they can be repaired before they become too severe (which may lead to an extraction or abscess).

There are three levels of preventative care in dentistry: primary, secondary and tertiary.

Primary prevention focuses on proper brushing, flossing and a balanced diet. Secondary prevention focuses on early disease detection, such as gingivitis or other medical problems like diabetes. Tertiary prevention focuses on reducing the negative impact an existing condition may be causing, such as filling cavities, replacing missing teeth with denal bridges.

Everyone benefits from preventative dentistry, especially children. By teaching them how to brush, floss and care for their teeth from the beginning, they will have stronger, healthier adult teeth. Adults also benefit because rectifying problems early helps them keep their real teeth for life.

As oral health is connected to your body as a whole, it is important to keep your mouth healthy. Healthy teeth and gums will contribute to your overall health, as harmful bacteria is discouraged from breeding.