Do you visit the dentist on a regular basis? If you’re like a lot of Americans, the answer is a resounding “no.”
Survey results show that more than one-third of Americans do not make regular dentist visits a priority.
This lack of concern for oral health explains why 91 percent of American adults have tooth decay in their permanent teeth.
It’s easy to justify not going to the dentist regularly, especially if you don’t notice any issues with your teeth. Even if you feel fine, though, you still need to see the dentist for checkups.
Listed below are seven reasons why you should never skip a tooth checkup.
The Importance of Regular Checkups
Regular checkups at the dentist are essential if you want to attain and maintain good oral health. Here are some specific reasons why you should make checkups a top priority:
1. Maintain Clean, Healthy Teeth
First, regular checkups from your dentist will help you to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Even if you brush and floss at home on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you’re missing things.
It’s hard for you to reach every nook and cranny in your mouth, so it’s good to have a dentist fill in the gaps a couple of times a year with a more thorough cleaning.
2. Avoid Dental Problems
Regular cleanings also help you to avoid tooth decay and other dental problems.
Professional cleanings get rid of plaque and tartar buildup on the surface and in between the teeth. Plaque and tartar, when left untreated, can lead to cavities, infections, receding gums, and even tooth loss.
By taking a proactive approach to your oral health, you’ll reduce your need for fillings, root canals, crowns, and other dental procedures.
3. Catch Issues Early
If you already have problems with your teeth, the sooner your dentist can catch them, the better.
Remember, issues with the teeth don’t always present themselves right away. If you wait until you have a toothache or severe tooth sensitivity to go to the dentist, it might be too late.
Going to the dentist on a regular basis ensures you’ll catch issues early on before they can spread or progress.
4. Avoid Other Health Problems
Getting regular checkups at the dentist is part of living an overall healthy lifestyle.
Did you know that a lot of serious diseases start in the mouth? When you don’t clean your teeth well or regularly, bacteria can make its way into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body.
By making sure your teeth are clean, you can reduce your risk of infections and inflammation, which increases your risk of developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia.
5. Get Screened for Oral Cancer
Your dentist can also perform screenings to make sure you’re not showing any signs of oral cancer.
If they do notice any symptoms, they can recommend you to a specialist and help you stop the progression of the disease early.
Remember, the sooner you get treatment, the better. This is especially true when you’re dealing with serious diseases like cancer.
6. Learn to Care for Your Teeth Properly
A lot of people don’t really know how to properly brush and floss their teeth.
If you’re not cleaning your teeth well, you’ll increase your risk of experiencing tooth decay, even if you clean your teeth regularly.
A dentist will teach you the right way to brush and floss to get rid of plaque and minimize cavity risk.
7. Set a Good Example
Finally, getting regular checkups at the dentist sets a good example for your children and teaches them about the importance of good oral health.
Even if you ate going to the dentist, you still need to go on a regular basis.
Remember, your kids pay more attention to what you do than what you say. Make sure your actions match up with the messages you’re sending them.
What to Expect During a Tooth Checkup
If it’s been a while since your last checkup — or if you’ve never had one — it’s easy to feel nervous. Knowing what to expect can put you at ease and help you feel more confident.
Every checkup is a bit different, but you can expect yours to involve the following elements:
Head And Neck Examination
During this portion of the exam, the dentist will look at your face, neck, and lymph nodes for swelling or other abnormalities.
They will also examine the joints of your lower jaw to make sure everything is working properly.
This portion of the checkup is usually performed by a dental hygienist.
He or she will check the cleanliness of the gums and teeth and remove plaque and tartar buildup.
They’ll also brush and floss your teeth and show you the proper techniques to follow to keep your teeth clean on your own.
The Clinical Examination
Once your teeth have been cleaned, you’ll be ready for a clinical examination by your dentist.
During this portion of the checkup, your dentist will examine your gums and look for signs of disease or tooth decay.
They’ll check for loose teeth, examine your tongue, and take x-rays to get a deeper look at how your teeth are doing.
At this point, your dentist may also recommend additional treatments, such as dental implants, to correct any issues they’ve noticed and help to improve your overall oral health.
Need More Oral Health Advice?
As you can see, it’s crucial to get a tooth checkup at the dentist on a regular basis.
These checkups help to ensure your teeth are in good shape and that you’re not at risk of any oral health issues.
Do you need more help managing your oral health? Maybe you need to work on your oral hygiene in between dentist appointments so that the cleanings are a little less intense.
If you’re looking for oral hygiene advice, check out this article from the Health section of our site today.
It’s full of tips that will help you wow your dentist at your next checkup.