When it comes to oral health, a lot of people think that brushing their teeth at home is enough. They don’t always understand the importance of a regular dental cleaning and dental checkup.
The problem with this, though, is that a lot of patients end up with serious dental conditions that could’ve been prevented had they seen their dentist regularly.
Why You Should Get a Regular Dental Cleaning and Dental Checkup
The reason a dentist performs annual dental exams and at least twice yearly dental cleanings is multi-faceted. In fact, there are three main reasons why you should schedule a regular dental cleaning and checkup.
1. Your Dental Health Impacts Your General Health
More and more scientific studies show that there’s a definite correlation between a person’s oral health and their general health. Certain dental diseases – particularly gum disease – have been linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
And diseases of the body can, in turn, adversely affect a person’s oral health. For instance, certain medications can cause dry mouth, which makes it difficult for the body to protect itself against decay.
Another example is when a patient has cancer or an autoimmune disease, including HIV/AIDS. Their body can’t fight infection as well. Therefore, if they get a dental infection, it might be difficult to treat.
Regular cleanings keep the oral tissues healthy and promote overall health.
2. Regular Cleanings Can Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss.
When bacteria-laden plaque is not cleaned out of a patient’s gum pockets regularly, the plaque becomes hard. It is then referred to as tartar or calculus. A buildup of calculus is like a sliver – it causes inflammation, infection, and the gums and bone start to recede from it.
The result: loose teeth that eventually need to be extracted.
Tartar buildup cannot be removed by a toothbrush or floss. While patients can do their part to remove plaque, they need the help of their dental team to keep calculus buildup at a minimum.
3. Your Dentist Can Quickly Diagnose Decay Issues
When patients wait until they’re in pain to see their dentist, the issue has progressed so much that they might not have any other option than to extract the tooth.
Even if the tooth can be saved, the steps needed to get the patient out of pain and to save the tooth will cost much more than a simple filling.
When a patient sees their dentist regularly, the dentist has the opportunity to catch decay early and treat it before it becomes a painful, expensive problem.
What to Do If You Want Your Teeth for a Lifetime
There’s a misconception that it’s nearly impossible for people to keep their teeth all their life. With proper care, however, it is possible to keep most, if not all, of their teeth for a lifetime.
What kind of care is needed?
1. Optimal Oral Hygiene at Home
A dentist and their team can only do so much. But when a patient gets on board and practices good oral hygiene at home, they have a better chance of keeping their teeth.
Proper home care includes:
- Brushing at least twice a day, preferably after every meal and before bed
- Using a quality toothbrush, like an electric toothbrush
- Flossing at least once daily
2. Annual Dental Checkups and Cleanings
An annual examination helps your dentist diagnose issues like decay, gum disease, and oral cancer in earlier stages. This makes any necessary treatments more successful.
Even if a patient already has gum disease, it can be arrested with a deep cleaning (called scaling and root planing) and then two to four cleanings each year.
Some people build up plaque and tartar at a faster rate, so they need more cleanings than average. But with these regular cleanings and good homecare, they probably won’t need a deep scaling or root planing again.
Your 2018 New Year’s Resolution: Schedule an Appointment with Us
This is the time of year when most people start thinking about what they want to accomplish over the next 12 months.
A lot of New Year’s Resolutions are health oriented – typically relating to weight loss and getting fit. But something that shouldn’t be left out of the equation is a person’s oral health.
Resolving to take better care of their teeth at home, while scheduling (and showing up for) regular exams and dental cleanings is a great way to start 2018.
Doing so will keep you determined to reach your goals and to have a happy, healthy new year.
Are you determined to get 2018 started right? Contact us to schedule your first cleaning and examination appointment of the year. Here’s to your dental health and a great New Year!