There have been great strides made in preventing the incidence of dental disease. One of the most successful efforts, spanning the last 60 years, is the fluoridation of community water supplies. Although drinking fluoridated water reduces dental decay by 15 to 40 percent that alone is still not enough to prevent dental disease.
The two primary causes of tooth loss, decay and gum disease are generally caused by bacteria in the mouth. However, both of these problems can be dramatically minimized, if not prevented, through proper dental hygiene practiced on a regular basis. Some of the elements of proper dental hygiene include brushing twice a day, flossing, eating a balanced diet, limiting between-meal snacks, and seeing your dentist twice a year for cleaning and exam. Additional preventive methods include the application of dental sealants and exposure to fluoride in the form of fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwash, or fluoride treatments directly applied by your dentist.