The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends patients see their dentists at least twice a year. Some people might find this excessive, but the logic and evidence behind the recommendation is sound. Regular dental visits are essential for maintaining optimal oral health and detecting any potential issues. A healthy mouth also provides many other total-body wellness benefits you may not automatically associate with the condition of your teeth and gums. If you don’t already visit your dentist every six months, here are a few reasons you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Keeping Your Mouth Clean
No matter how well you brush at home, a dentist has the proper tools to do an even better, more thorough job. A professional dental cleaning will not only remove any particles you missed while brushing and flossing but will also remove the plaque that coats tooth surfaces. If left untreated, plaque can turn into tartar and lead to gum disease or tooth decay. These conditions are much easier to prevent if they are caught ahead of time!
Professional cleanings can also help patients regain the confidence they might have lost because of the appearance of their smile. Dental cleanings remove built-up stains from food and drink to produce a whiter smile. They also help remove the bacteria that causes bad breath, eliminating an embarrassing problem from which many people suffer.
Regular checkups not only keep your teeth clean and your smile bright, but can also contribute to health benefits for your entire body. A recent study found that dental cleanings could help lower a person’s risk of pneumonia by reducing bacteria that infect the lungs. Researchers reviewed the records of more than 26,000 people and found
that those who never saw a dentist were 86 percent more likely to get bacterial pneumonia compared to people who got dental checkups twice a year.
Dentists are also able to note signs of other diseases or illnesses while performing an oral examination. Gum disease has been linked to both diabetes and heart disease, while chronic bad breath could be a sign of kidney problems. Professional cleanings and examinations serve as a regular checkup for your whole body.
What to Expect During a Dental Exam
Some people choose not to go to a dentist because the idea makes them anxious or uncomfortable. Fortunately, there is nothing to fear from a regular checkup or cleaning. Almost all dentists follow the same procedures. A standard visit includes:
- Examining your face, neck, jaw and lymph nodes for any swelling or other signs of illness.
- A thorough examination of the gums, teeth, and tissue inside the mouth to check for signs of gum disease, tooth decay, cavities or other concerns.
- Cleaning of teeth by removing plaque and tartar, polishing the teeth, flossing between teeth and reviewing proper cleaning habits.
If this is your first visit or you haven’t been to a dentist for some time, you will likely be required to get x-rays as well. The procedure is completely painless. Many dentists are willing to talk through the steps they are performing during your examination and cleaning to further reduce and stress you might have.
Dental Care at St. Hope
The St. Hope Foundation is a comprehensive medical care organization providing assistance to patients across Texas. Our dentistry program provides a broad spectrum of services from routine dental care to complex restorations. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.