How often do you visit the dentist? If you’ve had your teeth checked at least once during the past year, remember to come back before this year ends. Though the frequency of your dental appointments should depend on your overall oral health, dentists recommend having your teeth checked at least twice a year.
Yet many people only visit the dentist when they require a specific procedure, like tooth extraction or root canal. In other words, when their teeth are aching or rotting already. You won’t find a lot of people who undergo a thorough teeth cleaning procedure regularly. That’s despite the fact that it’s one of the most important dental procedures everyone should have.
How Often Should You Have Your Teeth Cleaned?
There’s no fixed rule as to how often people should have their teeth cleaned. The frequency differs from person to person. But a typical dental coverage in a health insurance plan allows a cleaning once every six months. Indeed, generally speaking, having your teeth cleaned every six months can maintain your optimum oral health.
A cleaning procedure does more than remove plaque. It also reduces your likelihood of getting cavities and/or a gum disease. Plus, your oral health is actually linked to your general health as well. If you neglect your teeth, complications may arise and affect your other organs.
What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning Procedure?
Teeth cleaning is a crucial procedure because it involves a physical exam. Before the process begins, your dentist will examine your mouth and search for signs of gingivitis (inflamed gums), cavities, and other oral health issues. If they found some major issues, they’d consider if it’s safe to proceed with the cleaning.
If your mouth’s gotten the all-clear, the dentist will start removing the plaque and tartar stuck on your teeth. This part is the most uncomfortable, which is probably why many people don’t like having their teeth cleaned. Still, without this procedure, the plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth will just increase, making the removal procedure more uncomfortable and even painful.
After the removal of the plaque and tartar, your dentist will run an electric toothbrush with a gritty toothpaste on your teeth. Then they’d floss between your teeth to remove any leftover tartar and plaque. They’d ask you to rinse your mouth next, then proceed with the final step, which is applying a fluoride treatment.
The Dangers of Neglecting Your Oral Health
Even if you brush and floss at least twice a day, you’re not giving your oral health the maximum care unless you visit the dentist regularly. That’s because you may be brushing your teeth the wrong way, or eating foods that are harmful for your oral health. If you brush your teeth with a heavy hand, for example, you’re actually damaging your teeth’s enamel, which leads to teeth sensitivity.
Neglecting your oral health can lead to a number of complications both in your mouth and other organs, namely:
Cavities or tooth decay occur when bacteria, food, and acid coat your teeth and form a plaque. They degrade your teeth’s enamel and the dentin or the connective tissue underneath. Left untreated, cavities can lead to permanent damage.
Gingivitis is usually the result of plaque. If your mouth bleeds every time you brush, that’s a telltale sign that your gums are inflamed. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.
Periodontisis is a serious infection that can spread to your jaws and bones. It can lead to inflammation of the other parts of your body.
Cracked or Broken Teeth
Chewing hard foods or grinding your teeth at night can cause painful damage to your teeth. Cracked or broken teeth requires immediate treatment.
Rather than a poor oral hygiene, oral cancer is usually caused by smoking. A physical exam before a teeth cleaning procedure can detect signs of oral cancer, another reason you shouldn’t skip it.
Contrary to popular belief, tooth loss isn’t an inevitable part of aging. Your teeth should last you a lifetime. But sadly, many adults seem to believe otherwise; almost 1 in 3 people aged 60 and above in Singapore are totally toothless, according to the National Dental Research Institute Singapore (NDRIS).
Tooth loss only becomes more likely if you neglect your oral health. But if you brush and floss properly at least twice a day, have regular dental checkups, and eat oral-healthy foods, you can keep your pearly whites for life. So if you start having oral problems in your senior years, don’t assume that it’s normal; it’s nothing a dentist can’t fix.
In severe cases, poor oral health may increase your risks for heart disease, endocarditis, and pregnancy complications. So from now on, set a regular schedule for teeth cleaning, and commit to it.