There are a number of reasons why we put off going to the dentist. According to the American Dental Association, adults are likely to put off going to the dentist for several reasons, including financial reasons, difficulty in finding a dentist or getting an appointment time, and the belief that they don’t need any dental care. While there is some discussion about whether twice a year cleanings benefit everyone equally, there is broad agreement that there is more to dental visits than a cleaning, and there are good reasons to consult with a dental professional regularly if you are looking to have and keep a healthy mouth.
1. Your dentist checks for more than cavities.
Although most of us worry about the dentist finding cavities, there is so much more that the dentist is checking for with an oral exam. The dentist checks for oral hygiene, oral cancer, and early signs of gum disease in addition to looking for caries disease. The dentist can alert you to problems with dry mouth. Sometimes, other health conditions like oral thrush are caught by your dentist, and those conditions can point to larger health issues.
2. Problems can be treated more effectively and less expensively if caught early.
Caries that are treated while small are generally less expensive. A small dental caries may be a good candidate for remineralization therapy. Even if it does not respond completely to remineralization therapy, it’s less expensive to treat a small cavity than to let it grow large enough to require a root canal, or worse, an extraction. Early gum disease is easier to treat than established gum disease and is less likely to require surgical intervention.
3. Your home care routine can be significantly more effective with some professional guidance.
Your homecare routine is vital to your oral health. Most of the hours spent caring for your teeth are the ones you spend at home rather than in a dentist’s chair. Your dental care professionals can help you make the most of this time in a couple of ways. First, they can let you know how effective you are being in your care. If you are missing spots brushing or need to clean between teeth better, they can let you know how to improve your care. The dental professionals involved in your health can also recommend optimal products for your specific needs. If you are struggling to clean well with floss, they can recommend other cleaning approaches like water cleaners or small, interdental brushes. They also can recommend oral cleansing products that are right for your specific situation.
4. Your oral health is part of your overall health and shouldn’t be neglected.
Gum disease is not the only infection linked to the bacteria commonly found in an unhealthy mouth. Work done by Harvard researchers indicates a common thread between heart disease and gum disease—the bacteria that make for unhealthy oral plaques are found in plaques associated with heart disease. In addition to heart disease, other conditions like diabetes and certain auto-immune diseases have a complicated relationship with oral health, and treating them effectively requires staying on top of your oral health.