It’s easy to assume that you can skip that trip to the dentist if you have good oral hygiene habits at home. After all, brushing twice a day and flossing your teeth gets rid of unwanted food and bacteria from between your teeth, so cavities can’t form, right?
Actually, professional cleanings play a much larger role in your oral health than giving your teeth a deep clean. Here’s why our skilled providers at Bell Family Dental PC, located in Bayside, New York, recommends scheduling a regular visit every six months.
Remove unwanted plaque buildup and staining
Even with the best brushing techniques, you can still end up with unwanted staining and plaque buildup on your teeth and gums.
Teeth staining is a common problem that often comes from the foods you consume, like coffee, tea, and red wine. Plaque, on the other hand, is a colorless, sticky, bacterial film that can form on your teeth and gums.
When ignored, plaque can harden into tartar, which puts you at risk of gum disease and tooth loss. Unfortunately, even if you thoroughly brush your teeth, you can’t remove tartar yourself; you only get results with a professional cleaning.
Detect oral health issues early
A thorough cleaning is only the first part of a routine dental visit. We also use your appointment to check for dental problems, like gum disease, cavities, worn enamel, loose or damaged teeth, and structural issues.
During your appointment, we start by looking for visual signs of problems on your teeth and the soft tissue of your mouth. Then, we capture X-rays to check for structural issues with your teeth and jaw that may not be visible to the eye.
We also perform an oral cancer screening by feeling underneath your jaw, along the insides of your cheeks and lips, and up the sides of your neck. This part of your exam also includes looking at the sides of your tongue, along with the floor and roof of your mouth.
Improve your overall health
A regular dental exam may not seem like it has much to do with your overall health, but the two are intimately related. For example, gum disease puts more than your teeth at risk; it also increases your chances of having certain health issues, including:
- Heart and kidney disease
Similarly, having these health problems can also increase your chances of gum disease, possibly because they can compromise your immune system or impair your ability to care for your teeth properly.
Taking certain medications can also cause dry mouth, which increases your risk of tooth decay. And the signs of some systemic diseases, like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, first appear in the mouth. In fact, nearly one in five people with gum disease have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know it. Fortunately, our dental team can alert you to potential issues during your visit.
As a result, at-home care is only the first step, but we’re ready to help. And, if you’ve been postponing your visit because of dental fear or anxiety, rest easy because we offer sedation dentistry to keep you comfortable every step of the way.