It’s common knowledge that dentists recommend getting teeth cleaned twice a year. You may wonder why your dentist recommends a cleaning every 6 months, but there are many reasons your dentist asks that you come in bi-annually.
Dentists are trained to not just manage common problems such as filling cavities, but to detect problems before they cause damage.
Bi-annual dental appointments are required to remove plaque. Plague is the leading cause of tooth decay as well as gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Plaque removal is required to prevent acid build-up that eats away at enamel, as well as causing gum inflammation.
Gum disease is easily treatable in its early stages, but it takes detection and treatment to prevent the damage from taking hold. If it does, it will cause damage that will lead to more inflammation, which can cause the gums to start pulling away from the teeth, exposing the roots. Roots don’t have as much enamel as the rest of your teeth, which means that acid eats through them faster. Roots are also rougher than the enameled parts of your teeth, which means plaque can adhere more easily.
Early stages of gum disease don’t necessarily have symptoms you will notice, but your dentist will. Early detection can prevent damage before significant symptoms appear.
Your dentist is also trained to detect symptoms of oral disorders like nocturnal tooth grinding or dry mouth. These issues can cause damage to your teeth or be further complicated by unmanaged plaque build-up. Dentists can detect these problems and talk to you about causes and treatment options to protect your oral health.
Complications of Disease
Oral health is a difficult balance to maintain, and is directly linked to the rest of your physical health. Some conditions and disorders can negatively impact the teeth and gums directly or indirectly. Poor oral health has been shown to affect health throughout the body as well. Regular dental cleanings can help lower your risk for diseases like heart disease and stroke, and dentists can screen for other disorders such as oral cancer during your exam.
Pregnant women should be sure to visit the dentist at least once. Not only does pregnancy increase risk of bleeding gums and plaque build-up, but gum disease can increase the risk of premature labor and low birth weight.
People who take antihistamines or other medications that can cause dry mouth are at increased risk of tooth decay. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of certain health conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and hypertension.
People who grind their teeth at night can have associated issues like tooth and jaw pain or headaches that can be treated by treating the problem. Teeth grinding can also be caused by sleep apnea, and your dentist can detect and treat or recommend people to help you treat potential causes.
Regular dental visits can also treat or help you avoid halitosis (bad breath) and provide an opportunity for professional whitening to help eliminate stains from coffee, tea, wine, and other foods and beverages.
Regular dental checkups can help you avoid costly and painful procedures in the future by detecting problems at their onset. See if your dental plan will help you cover preventative care so you don’t have to worry about it covering extensive care that could have been avoided.