Often, patients come to our office concerned about the aesthetics of their smile, but regular cleanings are about so much more than just your teeth being “clean.” Good oral care, including regular visits, is essential for your oral health. But don’t just Google “general dentist near me.” These are the reasons that you should come into our office for your regular exam to stay on track!
The Importance of Dental Cleanings
Dental cleanings are only one part of preventative oral care. Good habits like brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash all help to improve your oral health, but they are not enough. Regular cleanings not only work to remove plaque, tartar, and stains; they are also important to ensure that you are brushing correctly and to make sure that you don’t have the beginnings of things like periodontal disease or other oral conditions. These problems can often go undiagnosed if you don’t make your scheduled appointments.
What Can Happen if You Miss Your Regular Cleaning Appointments?
If you miss a cleaning once in a while, you might not think it is a big deal – but it can turn into one really quickly. During a regular cleaning, a dentist will look for signs that something is amiss. Also, if you don’t make your regular cleanings, it can result in:
Tooth decay and cavities can result from plaque and tartar buildup at the gum line, which is impossible for you to remove on your own with brushing. They can grow between teeth, which can only be addressed by a dental professional during your scheduled exam.
Gum disease is another result of the buildup of tartar and plaque at the gum line. When you don’t remove tartar and plaque, they cause inflammation and swelling that create “pockets” around your teeth, allowing food, plaque, and bacteria to accumulate. Over time, this will lead to gum disease, and eventually can result in bone and tooth loss. Cleanings are important to remove plaque and tartar to prevent buildup in the first place!
Bad Breath and Staining
Tartar, plaque, and stains are the result of bacteria buildup that you cannot remove on your own. When it increases, it can result in chronic halitosis (or bad breath). Also, certain types of dental stains can only be removed by a dental professional. All of the over-the-counter products are useless on some impervious stains, which is why you need those regular cleanings!
If you allow tooth decay and periodontal disease to progress without addressing them, they can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss. When that happens, it can affect the surrounding teeth. It’s not only painful; it’s also expensive to repair.
When you have regular cleanings, your dentist can check for any abnormalities that may indicate the presence of oral cancer. If you catch oral cancer in the beginning stages, it is often curable.
Due to hormonal fluctuations, pregnant women are at a higher risk for periodontal disease due to inflammation of the gums, which can result in infection. Infections of the mouth can quickly spread through the bloodstream and lead to consequences for the baby, like low birth weight and premature delivery. Regular and routine exams during pregnancy are a must for both mother’s and baby’s overall health.
Risks to Your Health
Poor oral health is linked to an increased risk of other health conditions such as stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attack. The reason is because anything in your mouth is easily transferable to the bloodstream. When you have a high degree of bad oral bacteria, it can affect your overall health and longevity. The longer you go without oral care, the higher your risk for overall health problems!
The Importance of Oral X-Rays
Often, patients will opt to not have dental x-rays – which is a big mistake! X-rays during regular visits are essential to identify disease or other issues. X-rays can spot signs of disease that you can’t see with the naked eye. They can also show the beginning stages of periodontal disease before it becomes a bigger problem. Studies show that you have an 80% higher chance of having a cavity if you go with only the oral exam versus an x-ray, so don’t opt out!
Regular cleanings are about more than just “clean” teeth; they are also essential for good oral health and better overall health. Don’t just Google “general dentist near me” – make your appointment today with the best, Dr. Tatum!