Visiting the dentist on a regular basis is a good idea. It helps prevent cavities, gum disease and other dental problems.
Even if your teeth and gums appear healthy and you practice good oral hygiene habits, there may be underlying issues that only your dentist can detect.
Many people put off their visit to the dentist for a variety of reasons.
1. Prevent Tooth Decay
Tooth decay and gum disease are two of the world’s most common health problems, but they are also preventable. They both start with germs in the mouth that form a sticky film called plaque, which irritates and damages tooth enamel. If left untreated this can lead to holes in the teeth, called cavities.
Regular dental visits allow the dentist to catch early tooth decay, which can be reversed with improved diet and oral hygiene. Saliva is a powerful natural defence against tooth decay, as it can wash sugar out of the mouth into the stomach, neutralise acid, fight bacteria and repair the early stages of tooth damage.
Eat a well-balanced diet including fresh fruit, vegetables, plain yogurt, soup and cheese, which will increase saliva flow. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day, and rinse with fluoride-containing toothpaste or mouthwash.
2. Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease, which is caused by bacteria that build up around and in between your teeth, can be a serious dental health issue. If not treated it can lead to tooth loss and bone damage. Early symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, bad breath and the formation of pus between your teeth and gums.
By visiting your dentist on a regular basis, they can spot these warning signs and treat them before gum disease gets out of hand. This can help you avoid the pain and expense of more serious dental problems down the road.
3. Prevent Tooth Loss
While brushing and flossing are excellent ways to keep your teeth healthy, routine visits with the dentist can help you attain an even healthier smile. Dentists can remove plaque from hard-to-reach spots in between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach and they can also provide dental treatments to protect your enamel for longer periods of time.
If you’re experiencing tooth pain or bleeding gums, a dentist can quickly spot and treat the issue before it escalates into a more serious problem. This saves you money, pain and unnecessary stress.
In addition, if you’re suffering from dry mouth which could be a symptom of a medical condition or side effect of certain medications, your dentist, whom you can find on the Patient Connect website, can recommend remedies to help you get the moisture you need to keep your teeth in good shape. They can also check for early signs of systemic diseases like diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Prevent Oral Cancer
While brushing and flossing are great for your teeth, dentists and dental hygienists can clean the areas of your mouth that you can’t reach. They can also spot problems that may not be visible or painful – such as oral cancer, for example.
Visiting the dentist on a regular basis means that they can catch issues before they turn into larger, more costly problems. It’s far easier to treat a tiny cavity for a couple of hundred dollars than a decayed tooth that needs a root canal and a crown.
Dentists can also see red flags that signal a higher risk for certain health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, or even pregnancy. They’ll recommend more frequent visits to monitor and prevent these conditions. They can also help you avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, like smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
5. Prevent Bad Habits
Your dentist can remove plaque in hard-to-reach spots that your toothbrush may miss, and he or she can help you prevent bad habits. For example, if you have trouble getting a full night’s sleep because of snoring or mouth breathing, your dentist can prescribe products to solve those problems.
Your dental professional can also monitor your mouth to detect diseases like gingivitis and periodontal disease early. With early intervention, treatment times and costs are reduced and you can have a healthier mouth for longer.
Proper daily brushing and flossing is important throughout life, but certain conditions such as gum disease, plaque buildup and tooth root decay are more common among older adults. Regular visits can detect these issues early. You can also boost saliva production to help prevent dry mouth and bad breath by chewing sugar-free gum, sucking on candy or drinking water.
6. Prevent Stains
Stains are one of the main reasons many people dislike going to the dentist. Whether they’re scared of getting yelled at or don’t like pointy things in their mouth, most avoid visiting the dentist until it’s too late and they need weeks of intensive, costly restorative treatment.
Drinking acidic items, such as tea or coffee, and consuming foods rich in colour can stain your teeth. This happens because the acid weakens enamel, allowing pigments to stain your teeth.
Brushing your teeth regularly can help prevent stains. To further prevent stains, make sure to brush within 30 minutes after consuming acidic drinks and to utilise an electric toothbrush with bristles that are strong enough to scuff away surface stains. Also, drinking iced tea or coffee through a straw helps reduce stains as liquids don’t come into contact with the front of your teeth.
7. Prevent Bad Breath
No one likes bad breath (also known as halitosis). Even if you brush and floss regularly, food particles collect on your teeth and gums. When they are digested they produce foul odors. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, cause halitosis as they travel through the bloodstream to the lungs.
You can prevent bad breath by practicing good oral hygiene – brush your teeth at least twice daily and use an interdental brush or floss to clean between your teeth. Chew sugar-free gum or suck on a mint to stimulate saliva production and avoid dry mouth, which is also responsible for bad breath. If you have a chronic problem with bad breath, talk to your dentist or hygienist as they can help identify the cause. They may recommend a different mouthwash or suggest other ways to solve the issue.
8. Prevent Heart Disease
Heart disease (also called coronary heart disease) occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrow or blocked. This is usually due to plaque, which is made of cholesterol and fatty material. People can take steps to prevent heart disease by following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and avoiding tobacco.
Unfortunately, some risk factors for heart disease cannot be changed, such as family history or genetics. Regardless, a good diet, regular physical activity and keeping up with dental visits can help reduce the chances of developing heart problems. Visiting the dentist regularly also makes it easier to spot early symptoms, like pain, and treat them before they develop into full-blown problems that require weeks or months of intense restorative treatment. That way you save both time and money. That’s what experts call secondary prevention.
9. Prevent Diabetes
Diabetes can affect your oral health in many ways. It can reduce saliva flow and make it harder for the mouth to fight infections. It can also cause serious gum disease.
You can help prevent diabetes and gum disease by maintaining good oral hygiene, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using mouth rinses that contain antiseptic ingredients. You should also visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
It’s also important to keep blood sugar levels in check. High blood sugar can slow down the body’s ability to fight infection, making it more likely to develop gum disease and other mouth problems. You can lower your blood sugar level by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking medicine if necessary. You can also get help from community health centers that provide free or low-cost health services, including dental care.