One of the most commonly believed myths about dental care is that having good brushing and flossing routines is enough to keep your teeth and gums in top shape. Sure, these are essential but unfortunately they are not enough on their own. Recommendations from the dental profession to see your dentist or oral hygienist every six months aren’t a marketing ploy – it’s fact-driven advice based around early detection and prevention which benefits both your health and your bank account.
Here are our top five reasons why you should see your dentist every 6 months.
1. To get your teeth professionally cleaned
Even if you have the most meticulous brushing and flossing habits, your teeth and gums will still benefit from a professional clean by your oral hygienist. These are in-depth cleaning, scaling and polishing sessions that ensure all those hard-to-reach places and spaces are completely free from bacteria, plaque and gum disease. They are also useful for removing surface staining on your teeth to keep your smile white and bright too.
2. Diagnosis of any dental issues not visible to the naked eye
X-rays are an important part of your regular dental check-ups as they allow your dentist to see what is happening beneath the surface of your mouth. Impacted (stuck) teeth, cysts, tumours, bone decay, infections, fractures and jawbone damage can all be identified on your x-rays, allowing for early diagnosis and treatment.
3. Diagnosis of gum disease
The prevalence of gum disease in adults is surprisingly high, with most adults estimated to have the mild form of gum disease, gingivitis. If left untreated, it can deteriorate into the highly destructive and irreversible periodontal disease, resulting in tooth loss. Through regular dental check-ups, early detection and prevention can help stop gum disease in its tracks before any major and permanent damage is done.
4. Help detect the early signs of oral cancer
An estimated 250 New Zealanders are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Unfortunately, oral cancer can be difficult to detect in its early stages, but six-monthly dental appointments play a vital role in its early detection. Your dentist will check your lips, gums, mouth and tongue for any abnormalities that may be cause for concern. You should also discuss any concerns or changes you have noticed with your dentist too.
5. Highlight and help correct bad habits
Identifying bad habits is another one of our reasons why you should see your dentist every 6 months, as your dentist and oral hygienist will help to identify any potential bad habits you have that may be adversely affecting your oral health. For example, pronounced or irregular teeth wear could indicate you are grinding or clenching your teeth at night. Receding gums and increased tooth sensitivity could be a result of brushing too hard, too long or using a hard-bristled brush. Identifying bad habits early and making changes to correct them can be invaluable in protecting the health of your teeth and gums.