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Why are Routine Dental Appointments Important

Why are Routine Dental Appointments Important

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends at least one dental appointment per year, with two visits being ideal. It’s important for people to stay on a routine dental appointment schedule, no matter their age or the current state of their oral health.

Here are some of the reasons why the ADA and dentists themselves recommend routine dental appointments:

1) Routine Dental Appointments Support Oral and Overall Health

There’s a growing body of research building links between oral health and overall health. Though more research is needed, it’s clear that maintaining good dental health protects against many forms of disease.

The most compelling link is with diabetes. Multiple studies show a definite relationship between oral health and diabetes – specifically, that the presence of one increases the risk of developing the other. Another study showed that giving diabetes patients additional periodontal care decreased their overall healthcare costs – a sign that regular dental treatment improved outcomes in diabetes patients.

Regular teeth cleaning also reduces the presence of bacteria in the mouth. Bacterial overgrowth in the oral cavity can lead to several problems, and in older patients who have trouble maintaining sufficient oral hygiene, it can also lead to pneumonia. Regular visits reduce this risk.

There are other examples. Several cardiovascular and heart disease markers improve with better dental care. Poor oral health is associated with a higher risk of pregnancy complications. Periodontal bacteria have even been found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients – an astounding discovery that suggests mouth bacteria can cause inflammation in the nervous system.

Again, more research is needed, but if whole-body health is important to you, then regular dental appointments and checkups can be considered a form of disease prevention.

2) With Routine Dental Appointments, Emerging Oral Issues Can Be Found Early

Dentists will often recognize an emerging health problem during a dental checkup. Most of the time, it’s what you would expect – a couple cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, gingivitis, plaque, tartar, or tooth damage. Sometimes, these seemingly minor concerns hint at bigger problems down the road. By spotting them early, dentists can take steps to slow, stop or reverse their effects.

Occasionally a dentist visit turns up something far more serious – like the early signs of oral cancer. A 2012 study published in Cancer Causes Control looked at 441 cases of oral or neck cancer and found that people who visited the dentist “infrequently, rarely, or never” were much more likely to be diagnosed with later stage oral cancer. According to the research team, regular dental appointments should be considered one of the most effective ways to identify early stage oral and neck cancer.

That regular every-six-months dental cleaning is also a perfect opportunity for patients to ask any questions about their teeth, gums or tongue. It’s easy to dismiss an occasional bout of tooth sensitivity or pain, but these problems may hint at something more significant. Regular dental visits ensure these concerns can be addressed in a timely fashion.

3) Regular Dental Appointments Ensure Your Smile and Confidence Can Shine

Routine dental appointments are like tune-ups for your smile. During every visit, the dentist’s team will provide a thorough cleaning, take x-rays, inspect the entire oral cavity, and offer treatment recommendations. Some of these treatments are designed to improve the patient’s smile from an aesthetic perspective.

One of the first things people notice about others is their smile. Our teeth deliver a powerful initial impression, and a healthy smile breeds confidence. A little confidence boost is always nice, but it may be critical in careers where making a positive impression is paramount.

There are a variety of treatments now available for smile maintenance on the aesthetic side. These treatments include teeth whitening, of course, but there are also veneers, invisible braces (perfect for adults), crowns, implants, and more. During a regular checkup, your dentist can determine which option is best for you or for a family member.

4) Routine Visits Help Children Learn Proper Oral Care

Stressing proper oral hygiene is essential in children. Reinforcing good habits now might help them avoid major dental work in the future, which is good for them and good for your wallet.

By taking children to the dentist early and often, parents send a vital message – that caring for your teeth is important. Further, during regular appointments, the dental team will also stress the importance of good oral hygiene and demonstrate proper technique to younger patients.

5) Regular Checkups Also Help Alleviate Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is something many people experience, but it can be a major problem in younger patients. If not addressed early, dental anxiety can lead to long lapses in dental visits that follow the child into adulthood.

Although tempting to do so, avoiding anxiety triggers – including dental anxiety – can often make the problem worse. With regular appointments, children will soon realize that most dentist visits are gentle and involve little more than a cleaning. If allowed to develop this confidence, younger patients are able to quickly adjust and their fears ease with time.

Routine Dental Appointments Can Help Protect Your Overall Health

Life gets busy and dental appointments get pushed off – it happens. But don’t delay too long, because those routine checkups are a proven way to protect your long-term health and the health of your loved ones.

Regular dental visits are also a good way to introduce younger patients to effective oral hygiene and to help them avoid dental anxiety.

In short, there are several good reasons to make routine Houston dental appointments a priority for your family. If it’s been a while since your last Houston dental appointment, it’s time to get back on schedule.

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