Some people only consider visiting the dentist when they have toothaches or other dental issues. However, it’s essential to make regular trips to the dentist so that any potential problems can be caught early.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that adults and children visit the dentist at least twice yearly for a cleaning and checkup. Regular checkups and cleanings are essential to prevent serious oral health problems and give your dentist an opportunity to spot any issues before they become more serious.
Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health. During a routine checkup, the dentist can identify any issues early on and provide treatments to prevent them from becoming more serious. Regular checkups allow the dentist to clean your teeth, removing plaque and tartar buildup that can cause tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems. A regular visit to your dentist at least twice a year is essential to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.
For children, it is especially important to make regular trips to the dentist. The ADA recommends that children visit the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts – usually between six and twelve months of age – and continue with regular checkups every six months from then on. This helps ensure that potential problems are identified early and treated promptly.
During a regular checkup, your dentist may perform a variety of procedures to assess the health of your teeth and gums. These may include:
Your dentist will conduct a comprehensive oral exam of your mouth. This includes looking at all the surfaces of your teeth and gums, evaluating the health of your jaw joints, checking for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, or other dental diseases, and assessing any existing restorations such as fillings or crowns. They may also take X-rays to check for potential problems that may not be visible on the surface, such as bone loss or decay under existing fillings.
Once your dentist has examined your teeth and gums, a dental hygienist will perform a cleaning to remove tartar and plaque buildup. This helps to prevent tooth decay, cavities, and other issues caused by bacteria in the mouth.
Your dentist or dental hygienist may also apply a fluoride treatment to your teeth during a checkup. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel on your teeth, making them less susceptible to cavities and decay.
The rule of thumb for most people is to visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup. However, you may need to visit more frequently if you belong to higher-risk groups, such as those with certain medical conditions. Higher-risk groups include:
- People with Diabetes: People with high blood sugar levels have a weaker immune response to bacterial infection, which means they’re more susceptible to gum disease. This makes it especially important for people with diabetes to visit the dentist regularly – at least every three months.
- Pregnant Women: Pregnant women are also at higher risk for oral disease due to hormonal changes in their bodies. Hormonal changes can cause gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums that can lead to gum disease or cavities if left untreated.
- People with Gum Disease: Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria in the mouth, and it can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Regular checkups are essential in order to monitor the condition of your gums and spot any potential issues before they become more serious.
- Smokers: Smoking causes your gums to become inflamed, leading to receding gums, bone loss, and eventual tooth loss if left untreated. Additionally, tobacco products can stain your teeth and reduce the effectiveness of dental treatments like fluoride. As such, it is recommended that smokers visit their dentist more often than non-smokers – at least every three to four months.
When you don’t visit your dentist regularly, it can lead to a number of serious dental health issues. Without regular checkups, problems like cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay can go undetected and become worse over time. Sometimes, these conditions can even lead to tooth loss or require more expensive and invasive treatments to fix them. Additionally, regular trips to the dentist can help identify and prevent other oral health conditions that may arise.
Maintaining optimal dental health at home is just as important as visiting the dentist regularly. Here are some tips to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush twice daily: You should brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to brush for two minutes each time, paying special attention to the back of your mouth and behind your molars.
- Floss at least once daily: Use waxed dental floss to reach the areas between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t. Consider using an interdental brush or water flosser to get in between hard-to-reach places.
- Avoid too many sugary or starchy foods: Foods high in sugar and starch can lead to plaque buildup on your teeth, which can cause cavities and other issues.
Preventative measures such as regular checkups and professional cleanings are vital to maintaining good oral health. If you haven’t visited the dentist in a while, now is the time to schedule your appointment. Contact our dental office today to get started on the road to a healthier and happier smile! Our team of dental professionals is here to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy.