Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? During this time, dentists all over the country will be encouraging patients to improve and maintain good oral hygiene, offering valuable tips and techniques to keep teeth and gums healthy. Apart from practicing good habits at home, making sure you see your dentist for regular dental cleanings and checkups is crucial to keeping decay and disease away. Unfortunately, many patients forgo their six-month checkups for a variety of reasons, all of which can result in serious dental problems. Read on to learn just how beneficial these visits are and what can happen if you avoid the dentist’s chair.
The Importance of Regular Dental Visits
The ADA recommends individuals see their dentist for a regular dental checkup and exam twice a year. That means, every six months, you should have your teeth and gums checked for any signs of decay or disease that could potentially worsen your oral and overall health. From exams to x-rays to routine teeth cleanings, these visits help keep your smile healthy and strong.
Unfortunately, with each year that passes, more and more people forgo their appointments, resulting in significant dental problems developing over time. The Global Burden of Disease Study in 2016 reported that more than 3 billion people globally were affected by oral diseases, cavities being the most prevalent, and in 2018, the World Health Organization reported that severe periodontal disease was estimated to be the 11th most prevalent disease throughout the world.
Because the mouth and body are closely interconnected, should infection or inflammation enter the bloodstream as a result of gum disease, you are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, cancer, and even neurological disorders. Not to mention the possible bone and tooth loss you might face.
Useful At-Home Hygiene Tips
In order to keep your teeth clean in-between your dental visits, here are some useful tips you can try at home:
- Brush your teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to do this twice a day for a full two minutes.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day to remove bacteria and food particles that are situated in the small crevices of your mouth.
- Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to flush away any left behind food particles and bacteria that flossing and brushing missed.
- Make sure to clean your tongue using a toothbrush or tongue scraper, as this will prevent halitosis (bad breath) from forming.
- Maintain a well-balanced diet and avoid eating too much sugar, as it encourages bacteria to build and eventually burrow into your teeth, causing cavities.
Your dentist is your ally in the fight against tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Whether it’s time, money, or fear that is keeping you from the dentist’s office, remember it’s better to seek treatment now before problems develop or worsen.
About the Author
Dr. Kelly Blair, DDS, attended the University of North Texas before being accepted into the dental program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Earning her Doctor of Dental Surgery in 2005, she received valuable experience and knowledge while living in various cities throughout the U.S. during her husband’s military assignments with the U.S. Army. Encouraging all her patients to maintain their regular dental appointments, she is dedicated to offering preventive care as a way to prevent problems before they start. To learn more about Dr. Blair, contact us at (817) 737-5155.