We all know that our dentists tell us to schedule cleanings twice a year, but how much thought have we actually given to why?
Regular cleanings and dental visits are important for several reasons, but just like taking your car to the shop for oil changes, tire rotations and periodic checkups, the most important reason for getting your teeth checked semi-annually by a professional is maintenance. Dentists are around for more than just those emergency calls when we chip a tooth, for example, or feel shooting nerve pain. They are actually there to help us prevent serious dental issues as much as possible, by performing those regular cleanings and taking x-ray pictures (typically on an annual basis) so that they can try to catch problems early, and hopefully before they become BIG issues.
When’s the Last Time You Checked?
It costs a lot less (and is a lot less painful) to get a cavity filled, for example, then to have a tooth pulled or get a root canal. Sure, these things can’t always be avoided, but if there’s a chance they can, why not take it? Most dental benefit plans actually cover these regular maintenance visits because they want you to take good care of your teeth, too. It costs them less money in the long run.
According to a recent Time magazine article citing research conducted by the CDC, 91% of Americans have had tooth decay in their lifetimes, and a whopping 25% percent of us have one right now that isn’t being treated. That’s a quarter of our population running around with a cavity that could lead to much more serious issues if they don’t schedule an appointment with their dentist now to get it fixed.
And that’s just for adults. As stated in the same article, tooth decay “is the most chronic disease among kids and adolescents ages 6 to 19,” even though it can be preventable.
Follow These Easy Tips for Cavity Prevention
So, what do you need to do to help prevent cavities for yourself and your family? Other than those regular checkups we talked about, the ADA recommends the following additional tips for tooth decay prevention:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste;
- Flossing at least once a day;
- Drinking water with fluoride (from your tap or refrigerator filter);
- Eating fruits and vegetables;
- Being cautious of dry mouth; and
- Limiting your sugar intake.
Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, so be sure to discuss prevention tips with your dentist at your regular dental cleanings. That’s yet another reason why regular visits are so important. You get that one on one time with your dentist to ask all those questions that may arise in between your visits about how best to care for your mouth, and ultimately your body. If you haven’t had a regular cleaning in a while or are due for one soon, be sure to give us a call at Atlanta Smiles and Wellness to schedule it.