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  • Valya Mertarchyan

Keeping your teeth healthy and your smile beautiful is all about preventive dentistry.

Author Dr. Valya Mertarchyan, DMD

Beautiful smiles build self-esteem and confidence in people. We smile when our teeth are white and healthy. Creating an attractive smile and healthy teeth is not an easy task, nor is it cheap. However, it is an absolute necessity.

Healthy teeth give us a confident smile, which in turn boosts our self-esteem. We can't ignore the fact that healthy teeth are vital for our oral and general health. Adolescents and teens require self-confidence much more than adults. They are also prone to caries at a much higher rate than adults.

​ My website is designed to educate teens, young adults and parents about dental care and help them maintain a healthy smile.

My story

When I was a child back home in Armenia, my family dentist told my mother that I needed to see a pediatric dentist after a routine checkup. The referral to another dentist was due to missing lateral incisors. To see a pediatric dentist meant having to travel to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, as my small town did not have pediatric dentists. Dentists in my town generally pulled out baby teeth instead of treating them, so I was fortunate to be referred to this pediatric dentistry department to see an orthodontist.

​My positive experience with my orthodontist motivated me to pursue a career in dentistry to create beautiful smiles and restore people's self-confidence and self-esteem.

My initial focus as a dentist was on the reconstruction and restoration of teeth, but that soon changed. It became apparent to me how important it is to educate the public about oral health and preventive dentistry.

As a dentist and a parent, my passion for the well-being of kids and teens have grown. Working with children to maintain their oral health has become my focus; to help them develop optimal oral health into adulthood. Additionally, children with intellectual, physical, or cognitive needs require even more attention to oral hygiene.

Why is preventive dentistry is important?

The following statistics will help in understanding the prevalence of dental decay and the importance of preventive dentistry. Growing dental caries became the most common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 and adolescents within the age range of 12 to 19 years old. Tooth cavities are four times more common than asthma among adolescents aged 14- to 17-year-old.

Additionally, the prevalence of dental caries among children and teens is related to family income. Total dental caries and untreated dental caries in primary or permanent teeth among youth aged 2-19 years vary by race.

Both Canada and the United States focus on preventive dental care, although many professionals believe community awareness about oral health needs to be raised.

There is a high prevalence of dental diseases among kids and teens in other countries, such as Armenia and Russia, where I practiced dentistry. Oral care education, preventive programs, and dental hygiene practitioners are in short supply, while dentists' efforts to educate and conduct preventive care are insufficient. Children experience high rates of tooth decay and lose their teeth from a young age. That is why I plan to create and publish educational video series in Armenian, Russian, and English to educate people about dental care.

Oral care education, preventive programs, and dental hygiene practitioners are in short supply, while dentists' efforts to educate and conduct preventive care are insufficient.

How does oral hygiene prevent cavities?

Patients often ask me if brushing prevents cavities or why is my daily brushing and flossing not helping me prevent cavities? To answer these questions, I should explain how brushing your teeth helps prevent dental caries. To begin with, you should know that dental plaque contains bacteria that cause dental caries and gingivitis. Plaque is a sticky biofilm that forms on teeth. It is dense and transparent, filled with microorganisms and food particles. The bacteria within biofilms use sugar from our food as we consume sweets. The result is lactic acid, which causes cavities.

When we brush our teeth, we remove dental plaque and germs from our teeth surface, preventing cavities in the future. Despite this, patients still get new cavities after brushing their teeth. It is common for patients to think they brush their teeth properly, but in fact, they do not. Plaque, which is left behind after brushing, causes new cavities. For this reason, it is important to brush and floss properly. Also, limiting sugar intake is crucial.

How motivate kids and teens to take care of their teeth?

It is not easy to motivate teens and adolescents to take care of their teeth. By 12 years old, they value relationships with friends and ignore the advice of their parents.

Being a dentist and a mother has taught me how to motivate teenagers and young adults to take care of their teeth. Once my children become lazy and forget to brush their teeth, I ask them a golden question that always motivates them: "Would you like to have white, beautiful teeth?"

Here are some quick tips to prevent cavities:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.

  • Floss your teeth every day.

  • Limit sweets and candies in your diet.

  • Make sure you choose gums with sorbitol and xylitol.

  • Use of water flossers and fluoride mouthwash is recommended.

  • Keep up with regular dental visits.

According to the American Dental Association, preventive programs reduced the prevalence of untreated caries by more than 50%. This proves the effectiveness of preventive dentistry.

Dental caries is among the most common health problems that we experience. The good news is that cavities are preventable. Fortunately, we can prevent and control it.

It is always better to prevent disease than to treat it. It is especially true in dentistry, where preventive measures are highly effective.

To learn more about how to keep your teeth healthy, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.




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