Is it time for you to schedule your regular dental checkup? Chances are, you’re probably long overdue for a visit.
But, those who avoid getting their teeth cleaned and examined on the regular run the risk of gum disease, cavities and bigger health problems with known links to those precious pearly whites.
Read on to discover seven reasons you should schedule an appointment today:
1. Get Regular Dental Checkups to Remove Plaque and Tartar
As most people are aware, failing to get a regular dental checkup may result in plaque buildup.
As a point of reference, plaque is a sticky blend of bacteria and other substances (food particles, etc.) that form something called a biofilm on the surface of the teeth.
In most cases, plaque is easily removed by brushing and flossing regularly, but if it goes unchecked, plaque may cause some problems.
Plaque gradually hardens over time, forming a substance called tartar. Tartar is not easily brushed away and may lead to gum disease or other forms of decay.
Regular dental check-ups provide a solid defense of teeth—the dentist can spot tartar buildup and remove it during each visit.
2. Get Screened for Oral Cancer
During a regular dental checkup, the dentist will often screen for oral cancer. While this may increase the level of dread often associated with regular checkups, oral cancer is a serious condition that dentists are trained to look out for.
Getting your biannual dental check-up increases the likelihood of catching any early signs of oral cancer—dramatically increasing the odds of successful treatment.
Often, patients don’t notice the signs of oral abnormalities—meaning cancers can go unchecked for long periods of time.
Getting a cancer screening is even more critical for people who regularly drink alcohol, smoke, have HPV (human papillomavirus) or have had severe sun damage.
Patients over 40 are at greater risk than younger patients and men may be more susceptible to the disease than women.
3. Treat and Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease emerges as a result of poor dental hygiene, Plaque or tartar buildup can erode the gums, causing an infection where the gums meet the teeth.
Some of the Signs of Gum Disease:
• Gums are swollen, red or bleeding
• Bad breath
• Teeth sensitivity
• Tooth mobility
Overall, gum disease can lead to big problems and big spending. In many cases, gum disease requires more visits to a specialist—and worst-case scenario—include surgeries, deep cleaning, medication and tooth extraction.
In short, you and your wallet will both want to avoid letting gum disease run its course.
And it’s also worth pointing out, even if you don’t show any symptoms, you might have a mild form of gum disease. Better to get a dental checkup to make sure nothing goes unseen.
4. Other Types of Disease Prevention
The importance of oral health extends far beyond fresh breath and sparkly whites. Going to the dentist often can help prevent serious diseases.
Here are some examples of issues that may emerge should you fail to take proper care of your teeth:
A type of infection that affects the heart’s inner lining, endocarditis is caused by bacteria spreading to the bloodstream. Bacteria then attached to damaged areas in the heart. Endocarditis causes a range of symptoms like nausea, fever, swelling, pain and even irregular heartbeats.
Some researchers believe that issues like clogged arteries, stroke and heart disease could be linked to poor oral health. Again, should bacteria enter the blood stream, they may attach to blood vessels, clogging arteries, and dramatically increasing the risk of blood clots and inflammation that can lead to heart attacks.
In some cases, gum disease may make it harder for women of childbearing age to become pregnant. In Western Australia, a group of doctors discovered women with gum disease took longer to conceive than those with healthy gums.
Additionally, women with gum disease who can conceive may give birth to children who are underweight.
5. Cavity Prevention
Cavities can creep up on us, rarely offering the patient any warning during their formation.
A slight aching sensation is often the first noticeable sign of a cavity, but this is an indication that the damage is already done, thus requiring a dental visit to get the hole filled.
Getting a regular dental checkup can nip plaque buildup in the bud, so you’re not surprised by a new crop of cavities every few years.
6. Keep Bad Habits in Check
Whether you’re trying to stop smoking for right or need a gentle reminder to floss each day, getting regular dental checkups can help you stay on top of caring for yourself.
Sure, your dentist can’t necessarily be there to remind you about the risk of teeth stains each time you reach for that glass of red wine or make sure you’re remembering to stop biting your nails, but they’ll be able to assess whether or bad habits are causing damage to your smile.
Additionally, your dentist might be able to offer some solutions in making at-home oral care easier and more efficient in battling wine, coffee, tobacco or too much sugar.
7. Identify Problems Before They Get Worse
During your dental checkup, the dentist will examine teeth to check for problems you may not yet know about. Tooth decay, cavities and the earliest signs of gum disease are easier to get in check at the beginning stages, rather than after you’ve let things go for a while.
Cavities, for example, can tear and inflame the soft tissue inside the teeth, and from there, spread the infection to the root.
Ready for Your Next Dental Checkup?
In the end, if you think you have gum disease or some other oral issue, you’ll want to make it to a dental office as soon as possible.
Doug Lewis Dentistry provides a range of services from our Birmingham office—whether it’s time for a cleaning, a new crown or something else, please don’t hesitate to call us for your next appointment.