Do you go to the dentist on the typical schedule, every 6 months? If not, you’re not only missing out on some very real benefits, you’re putting your overall health in jeopardy.
The American Dental Association recommends dental cleanings at least twice a year, but also states that the schedule should be developed by your dentist on a per-patient basis. High risk patients, such as smokers and those who seem to experience many dental issues, may need more frequent visits. Low-risk patients, such as those who practice good oral hygiene at home, may only need cleanings twice a year.
Keeping Up with Regular Dental Cleanings Offers These 3 Benefits
Of course there are many benefits to seeing your dentist regularly, but most fall under these three categories:
1. Your Oral Health.
There are many benefits to maintaining good oral health.
- Healthy Teeth. Brushing, flossing, and using fluoride mouthwash at home goes a long way toward keeping your teeth healthy. But your dentist has tools to more thoroughly clean your teeth, scraping away plaque and creating an extra polish. Your dentist may even apply fluoride treatments to your teeth for extra protection from cavities.
- Healthy Gums. Healthy teeth typically lead to healthy gums, but sometimes additional attention is needed to prevent things like gingivitis and gum recession.
- Mouth Comfort. Avoid experiencing pain associated with tooth decay and/or infected gums.
- Eat Freely. When you have good oral health you can eat the foods you love without worrying about pain or possible damage to your teeth.
2. Prevent Disease.
Research has shown that poor oral health is linked to a variety of diseases such as:
- Cancer. Studies have shown an increased risk of multiple types of cancer in patients with gum disease, especially pancreatic cancer.
- Heart Disease. Although the exact cause is unknown, multiple studies show there is a direct correlation between oral health and heart disease.
- Lung Disease. The bacteria that causes gingivitis has been found in the lungs of patients suffering from all sorts of different lung and respiratory illnesses, including lung cancer. This evidence points to a direct link between gingivitis and lung disease.
- Alzheimer’s. Research has shown an undeniable connection between oral health and the progression of Alzheimer’s in older patients. Tooth loss in particular seems to lead to a faster cognitive decline in general.
Visiting your dentist on a regular schedule could decrease your chances of developing any of the above diseases.
3. Maintain Your Teeth for a Lifetime.
At some point the need for dentures is inevitable right? Wrong. The reason so many older people have dentures is because fifty or sixty years ago, not as much was known about the best ways to care for teeth. Dental technology was much more primitive, and tooth decay was considered a normal part of aging.
Now that we know better, parents and guardians are teaching children best practices for caring for their teeth, and dentists are providing enhanced preventive care. The hope is that future generations of children will keep their teeth for their entire lifetime.
Common Reasons People Don’t Visit a Dentist Regularly
Reason 1. Cost/Lack of insurance. If you don’t have dental insurance, you may be worried about the cost of dental care. And even if you have insurance, it doesn’t always cover everything.
- Solution: If you don’t have access to dental insurance through your employer, it can be purchased from a private insurance provider. Or you may be able to purchase a dental plan directly from your dentist’s office that covers basic care and discounts toward other procedures.
- Solution: Payments plans and financing can help you pay for more expensive procedures on a gradual basis.
Reason 2: Fear/Anxiety. The idea of going to the dentist makes some people anxious or fearful, especially if they don’t have much experience in dentists’ offices.
- Solution: Dentists and hygienists are trained to help put patients at ease.
- Solution: When you visit the same dentist regularly you will know what to expect, which should help to ease your anxiety.
- Solution: Dental sedation is available to help you relax.
Reason 3: Embarrassment. Some people haven’t been to the dentist in so long that they feel embarrassed about the state of their teeth and oral health.
- Solution: Dentists have seen it all. There is no reason to be embarrassed. Your dentist wants to help restore your oral health, not give you a hard time about what you have done or not done in the past. And dental issues will only get worse, not better, if ignored.