Healthy teeth and gums are an important part of your overall well-being. While limiting your sugar intake and keeping a consistent oral hygiene routine can go a long way in supporting and protecting your oral health, your daily dental habits are only one side of the equation.
The other side? Having twice-yearly professional cleanings and dental exams along with periodic digital X-rays.
Our expert dental team at Smiles in Springfield recommends that patients of all ages have a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning every six months. Here, Dr. Quang C. Tran and Dr. Truc Q. Duong offer seven good reasons why everyone should prioritize routine dental visits.
1. Cavity prevention
Only 2 in 3 adults in the United States have seen a dentist in the past year. At the same time, approximately 1 in 4 adults has untreated dental decay. See a connection? We do.
Tooth decay has the dubious distinction of being the most prevalent disease in the world. It’s also preventable, and twice-annual dental exams play a major role in helping you avoid cavities.
From regular fluoride treatments and sealants to dietary advice and tips to help you improve your brushing and flossing techniques, routine professional dental care is key to cavity prevention.
2. Prompt decay detection
Let’s face it — even the best oral health habits can’t always stop decay from developing. Chew surfaces can be tricky to brush thoroughly, and forgetting to floss can leave food particles and liquid residues between your teeth until the next time you floss.
When you see your dentist every six months, you’re far more likely to detect dental decay early, in its most treatable stage. Prompt cavity detection can mean the difference between having to take care of a minor surface cavity or get a small dental filling — or having to undergo a root canal or tooth extraction procedure.
3. Gum disease awareness
Along with tooth decay, gum (periodontal) disease is a top oral health problem: About 1 in 2 adults aged 30 and older has some degree of gum disease, as do nearly 3 in 4 older adults. Gum disease is a general term that refers to infection and inflammation of the gum and bone tissues that surround and support your teeth.
The problem with gum disease is that it’s progressive; when it goes untreated, it almost always leads to tooth loss. But the good thing about gum disease is that it’s reversible in its early stage.
We often spot the signs of early gum disease, called gingivitis, during routine dental exams. When we do, we provide you with actionable steps to help you reverse it as quickly as possible.
4. Early disease detection
When we examine your mouth twice a year, we’re not only looking for cavities or assessing your gums; we’re also checking your oral tissues for signs of other health problems.
Unevenly worn chew surfaces may indicate nighttime teeth grinding (bruxism); enlarged lymph nodes, sores, and patches of discoloration may point to oral cancer; a red throat, narrow palate, and enlarged tongue can be signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Spotting such problems early gives you the best possible chance of an optimal treatment outcome, whether you simply need to wear a night guard when you sleep to protect your teeth from grinding, or you need a more comprehensive plan to address OSA or an oral cancer.
5. Tooth preservation
Whether you have perfectly healthy teeth and gums or you’re in need of regular periodontal therapy to manage advanced gum disease (periodontitis), having routine dental cleanings and exams can help you protect — and even improve — your oral health.
And when you stay on top of your oral health, you’re far less likely to develop the kind of deep decay that leads to a painful abscess and requires emergency dental care. You’re also far less likely to lose teeth and require dental implants, bridges, or dentures as you age.
6. Oral hygiene review
When we clean and examine your teeth, we can tell a lot about your daily oral hygiene habits (including if the only time you’ve really flossed was right before your visit). We can see where you may apply too much pressure while brushing, and which areas don’t always get cleaned as thoroughly.
By telling you what we see when we look at your teeth and gums, we can give you the specific advice you need to improve your brushing and flossing techniques and protect your long-term oral health.
7. A whiter, brighter smile
And finally, one of the most appealing rewards of routine dental visits: Preserving a whiter, brighter smile without having to rely on cosmetic teeth whitening treatments. Regular cleanings with professional dental tools help clear plaque and tartar and lift superficial stains from your enamel to keep your smile fresh and sparkly.
Are you ready to stay on top of your oral health? We can help. Call 703-595-2403 today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning at Smiles in Springfield in Springfield, Virginia.