If you’ve ever visited our blog, you’ve probably heard the guidance to have dental exams and cleanings twice a year. In fact, dental professionals have been advising the twice-yearly frequency for over 50 years. The American Dental Association counsels people to visit their dentist twice a year as well.
Is that an arbitrary schedule? Let’s consider the reasons why regular check-ups and cleanings are an essential part of preventative dentistry and optimum oral health.
What does your dentist and dental hygienist do during an exam and cleaning?
Look for Signs of Decay
Your dentist has tools that allow him/her to see places in your mouth that would be hardly possible for you to see. While a cavity usually takes over six months to become serious, your dentist can see the telltale white spots that reveal that a cavity is forming. In the earliest stages, your dentist can stop the development of a cavity. If a cavity drills into your teeth without you knowing it, it will eventually hit the pulp–Ouch!–and you may need a root canal and a crown. As you might imagine, both are far more expensive than an exam and cleaning. Besides, your dental insurance may cover twice-yearly exams and cleanings at 100%.
Clean Out Your Pockets
If you think dental care is unnecessarily expensive, you might not like this joke. We aren’t talking about your wallet here. We are talking about the gap that forms between your gums and tooth roots when bacteria and plaque build up. It’s not only extreme tooth decay that can damage a tooth until it is beyond saving. Gum disease that leads to bone loss is just as detrimental. A buildup of plaque creates pockets of infection between the gums and tooth roots. This leads to periodontitis, gum recession, and eventual bone loss. A professional cleaning gets rid of the plaque before it can cause the gums to pull back.
Check for Oral Cancer
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports this sobering stat: oral cancer claims one life every hour—that’s 48,250 deaths a year.1
Clean Plaque and Tartar
Even if you brush and floss your teeth morning and night, plaque can build up. We have many patients who are faithful brushers but are surprised when our hygienist discovers plaque on their teeth.
Polish Your Teeth
When the hygienist polishes your teeth, it eliminates the bacteria that allows the plaque to form. If you have , your hygienist can smooth away uneven areas below the gumline where bacteria can flourish. Plus, it feels amazing when you run your tongue over polished teeth!
Oral Health is Physical Health
Your mouth is connected to the rest of the body, but many people treat it as a separate entity. Some get regular preventative services for physical conditions but overlook their oral health.
At Cary Family Dental, we’ve often wondered about this common disconnect. Did you know that there is compelling evidence to suggest that the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes increases with poor oral health? Besides, your lifestyle is significantly influenced when you have tooth pain, tooth loss, gum disease, or dentures.
Even if you don’t have dental insurance, cleanings and exams are one of the most economical ways to maintain proper oral health.