You have probably heard that you need to go see the dentist every six months your entire life. But why is it so important?
There may have been a time when you may not have heeded this advice. In fact, some patients think that because they practice good, daily at-home dental hygiene that visiting their dentist every six months is excessive and unnecessary.
This is a great mistake as regular dental visits and check-ups are essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Below are some reasons why it is important to get a six-month dental check-up:
Cleans Built-Up Tartar and Plaque
Even the astute oral health perfectionist using the best, most highly advanced toothbrushes will inadvertently miss some spots when cleaning his or her teeth. No toothbrush can reach into every crook and cranny between teeth. Flossing helps remove debris from between teeth that toothbrushes can’t. But even floss can miss some areas.
Over time the plaque that builds up on and between teeth hardens and sticks to teeth, resulting in an unpleasant brown staining of the teeth. This hardened plaque is called tartar. Only a dentist has the tools and equipment to remove tartar.
Tartar can easily build-up within six months. At the routine dental check-up and cleaning, patients will get their teeth cleaned and looking healthy. The patients will once again have their natural, beautiful smile to show off.
Finding and Treating Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
It is the first and foremost job of the dentist to preserve the health, appearance and proper functioning of their patient’s teeth and gums. The biggest culprits that pose the greatest risk against a patient’s oral health and overall wellbeing are tooth decay and gum disease.
Both tooth decay and gum disease are the result of poor at-home dental hygiene and infrequent dental office visits. Plaque build-up caused by the accumulation of food particles on tooth surfaces and between teeth, eat away at the tooth enamel. The same plaque can make its way to the gums, causing an infection of the gums that can worsen and cause destruction of the jaw bone, tooth roots, and gum tissue.
If either tooth decay or gum disease are not treated, the loss of teeth can occur.
Both conditions are easily and quickly stopped and reversed if proactive measures and early treatment are done.
At the six-month dental check-up and cleaning, the dentist will check for signs of tooth decay or gum disease. The dentist will then perform immediate treatment. At these routine office visits, the dentist will also look for possible areas where tooth decay and gum disease can form in the future.
When you visit the dentist every six months, you’re getting your teeth and gums checked for decay and disease and getting the preventative and early, proactive treatment needed to stop and reverse the damage to your smile.
Get Insight About Other Conditions
Your life can change a lot in six months: you could buy a house, get a new job, retire or begin to start a family. Biological and environmental changes can bring up new dental health condition or increase your chance of getting tooth decay or gum disease.
You may develop new or worsening health issues that affect the health of your mouth and vice versa. When you regularly see your dentist, you’ll have the opportunity to inform them of new medical or oral health issues as well as have your mouth examined for issues you may not have been aware of.
Regularly going into the dentist for a check-up and cleaning can be seen as a pain and an inconvenience, but the health of your teeth and gums depend on them. If it has been a while since your last dental office visit, contact us at LeDowns Dentistry In Denver today to schedule an appointment.
An essential part of taking care of your dental health is having the right tools for the job. Much like you can’t build an entire house with only a handful of nails, you can’t fully take care of your teeth without any tools. One of the most important tools in your oral health lineup is your toothbrush. This simple item is the heavy lifter. It clears debris from your teeth, brushes away plaque and keeps your teeth shining bright. Without a toothbrush, you would suffer from more dental problems than you might realize.
Like other tools, a toothbrush can wear out after extended periods of use. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that their toothbrushes only last for a certain length. And once they reach the end of their life, they become more harmful than helpful. So, how often should you be replacing your toothbrush?
The American Dental Association (ADA), recommends you replace your toothbrush at least once every three to four months. However, this can change based on your specific situations. If you’ve recently been sick, you should probably replace your toothbrush as soon as you get better so you’re not constantly putting those germs back in your mouth. If your bristles are frayed and worn before the three to four month mark, you should also probably replace your brush at that time, too. Pay attention to the condition of your toothbrush and make the decision as you see fit.
Maintain Your Toothbrush
While toothbrushes aren’t necessarily expensive, it can be annoying to have to go to the store every two weeks to buy a new toothbrush. This might need to happen if you aren’t properly maintaining your toothbrush. It’s important that you keep your toothbrush clean and in good overall condition so you don’t constantly have to replace it.
To maintain your toothbrush, rinse it with tap water after use and store it in a vertical position to let the bristles dry. Take note of how hard you brush. Hard brushing not only wears down your toothbrush’s bristles, it can also wear down your enamel quicker than normal.
Consider Upgrading Your Brush
When it comes time to replace your toothbrush, it’s also a good time to consider whether you want to upgrade to something with a little more power. Manual toothbrushes are the most common types of toothbrushes, but many people are making the switch to electric versions. Electric toothbrushes can provide a more comprehensive clean overall, making them worth the higher price. Some electric toothbrushes even include extra features that indicate when you’ve brushed long enough or warn you when you’re brushing too hard.
Work with Your Dentist
If you ever have concerns over choosing the right toothbrush for your teeth or for deciding when it’s time to replace your toothbrush, don’t be afraid to talk to us during your dental checkups! Our dentists can help you choose the right tool to take care of your oral health so you can easily work toward and maintain a healthy, bright smile.
The word “cancer” is never something that one wants to hear. No matter what type, where it is in the body, or which stage is in, it is just plain and simply an unkind and often fatal disease. Although it is nasty no matter how you look at it, we are going to take a closer look the specific role it plays within the mouth: oral cancer.
According to The Oral Cancer Foundation: “Close to 48,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, causing 9,575 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 48,250 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years.”
Terrifying right? Let’s take a closer look at causes and facts that are connected to this horrible disease:
There are several known risks that can lead to oral cancer, but some who develop this disease have no affiliation to any of these risk factors at all. And some who have several of these risk factors never develop the disease at all. However, the human “rule of thumb” is always “better safe than sorry.”
Here is a look at some of the risk factors that could lead to oral cancer:
- Poor Nutrition – Your parents didn’t make you eat your fruits and vegetables strictly because they enjoyed torturing you. The nutritional value of these super foods benefit you in many ways. They help give you a healthy body and mind. But beyond that, there is an increased risk for oral cancer in those who have a low fruits and vegetables diet. Have a salad, eat an apple, munch on some greens. Your oral health (and overall wellbeing) will thank you
- Tobacco – This one is obvious. Everyone knows the dangers of smoking, chewing, or any other type of tobacco use, yet there are still people in this world who are willing to take that risk. Close to 90% of people who have oral cancer have been linked to tobacco use. Someone who smokes is 6 times more likely to get this disease and those who use smokeless tobacco (chew) increase their risk among the tobacco users by 50%. The direct contact to the lips and gums gives the disease a faster route to destroying your mouth, life, and can even be the cause of death
- Alcohol – This on its own can increase the risk of developing oral cancer, but in conjunction with smoking they tend to amplify each other making the risk all the more serious. Heavy alcohol consumption mixed with tobacco use can be a deadly combination
- Ultraviolet Light – Summer days’ equal barbeques, swimming pools, baseball games, and all sorts of outdoor fun, but the sun’s ultraviolet rays are our skins enemy. Many of those who develop oral cancer have outdoor occupations. Prolonged exposure to the sunlight can cause cancers of the lip. Any time you spend the day basking in the warmth of the sun, wear sunscreen and apply it often
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – This sexually transmitted virus has been linked to the development of oral cancer in nearly 20 percent of people who have the disease
- Age – Age is the one thing that none of us can avoid, no matter how hard we try. As we grow older our bodies decide to shut down in various ways. Unfortunately, the likelihood of developing oral cancer increases with age as well. Half of all cases fall into the age category of 45 and above
Here are some common symptoms of oral cancer:
- Persistent bad breath
- Lump or mass in the neck
- Lump or mass in the cheek
- Persistent pain in the mouth
- Sore within the mouth that won’t heal
- Numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth
- Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw
- White or red patches on the gums, tonsil, tongue, or lining of the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Swelling of the jaw
- Tooth pain or loosening around the jaw
- Changes in voice
- Unintentional weight loss
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, and they have lasted more than two weeks, it is important to have a health care professional take a look at what may be causing them. Oral cancer is no joke and regular visits to our office can be the difference between life and death. When oral cancer is caught early there is a higher chance of successful treatment. The longer it persists, the greater chance of it becoming fatal. If you have any unanswered questions about the risks of oral cancer, call our office and our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help.