We all want a beautiful smile, but taking care of our teeth is more than just cosmetic. Regular dental visits can help prevent oral health problems that can affect other parts of the body. It’s recommended that everyone visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup, but sometimes more frequent visits are required.
What a Dental Visit Entails
Each dental visit will start with a review of your health history, including any allergies, changes to medications, or recent hospitalizations. If new health problems have arisen since your last visit, be sure to discuss those with your dentist.
The dentist or hygienist will then clean your teeth thoroughly by scraping off tartar and plaque and polishing them with a special toothpaste. The cleaning will finish off with flossing in between all of the teeth. For children, they may need to use a fluoride rinse. Some dentists also use a baking soda blast to get teeth extra clean.
After the cleaning, the dentist will examine your teeth for signs of decay. He or she will also check for signs of gum disease like swelling or redness. Signs of oral cancer or infections will also be looked for on the roof of the mouth and the inner cheeks. If no issues are found, the dentist will ask you to schedule another cleaning in six months. If problems are discovered, x-rays or additional tests may be performed.
Problems Regular Dental Visits Can Prevent
An obvious issue that can be prevented with regular dental visits is tooth decay. Additional problems that can be detected and prevented include:
- Gum disease (gingivitis, periodontis)
- Stained teeth
- Bad breath
- Mouth sores
- Oral thrush
- Tooth erosion
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth abscess
- Oral cancer
Caring for Teeth Between Visits
Practicing proper dental hygiene in between dental visits is important to maintaining healthy teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day is the best way to prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Avoiding sugary foods and beverages is equally important.
To keep your smile bright, stay away from coffee, tea, and wine that can stain teeth. Acidic foods, like citrus, can wear away the tooth enamel and lead to pain and sensitivity. You and your dentist are partners in keeping your mouth healthy.