Why and When to Have Dental Checkups

Why and When to Have Dental Checkups

Oral health is an essential aspect of overall well-being, and a lot of people are aware of the importance of routine dental visits. Still, it is common for everyone to neglect dental health, considering them secondary to other health concerns. In fact, 6.8 million Canadians avoided visiting the dentist in part due to expense, according to Statistics Canada. More than one-fifth of the population avoids having their teeth examined.

This perception needs to change. Taking proper care of your teeth is not just about maintaining a bright smile; it’s also about preserving your general health. Let’s explore the significance of regular dental checkups and the best times to schedule them.

Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

  • Eliminate Plaque, Tartar, and Cavities

Certain areas of the mouth are missed by even the most careful daily flossers and brushers. Cavities seldom exhibit any symptoms when they first appear. They only manifest with throbbing pain after the tooth has already deteriorated beyond repair.

One of the primary reasons for regular dental visits is the removal of plaque and tartar. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, can harden and become tartar if not removed. Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent plaque build-up, but professional dental cleanings are necessary to remove tartar. These cleanings prevent the formation of cavities, which are small holes in the teeth caused by decay.

  • Prevent Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Regular dental checkups are crucial in combating gum disease and tooth decay, two common dental issues. Gum disease, particularly periodontitis, is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. It begins with gingivitis and can progress to periodontitis, destroying tooth-supporting tissue and bone. Early detection is vital, as dentists can identify signs of gum disease and take action before it worsens. Early detection of tooth decay can lead to less invasive and costly interventions like fillings, crowns, or root canals.

  • Identify Potential Oral Cancer

Oral cancer screenings are crucial for regular dental checkups, as they can detect signs of oral cancer in various parts of the mouth, such as the lips, tongue, cheeks, palate, sinuses, and throat. Early detection increases the chances of successful treatment, making these screenings an essential part of regular dental care. Symptoms may include lumps, sores, persistent pain, and difficulty swallowing.

  • Address Issues through X-ray Screenings

A vital part of going to the dentist every six months is getting X-rays of your teeth and jawbone. Dentists will be able to see beneath the surface of your teeth and identify issues that could otherwise go undiscovered, including an impacted wisdom tooth. X-ray imaging can detect tumours, cysts, inflammation, and damage to the jawbone. It can also detect any bone degradation.

Early detection is essential. The best ways to keep an eye on your health are to get biannual exams and up-to-date scans, especially if you have any serious conditions that could develop quickly but have few or no symptoms.

  • Develop Oral Hygiene

Learn oral hygiene tips from your dentist

One of the benefits of routine dental exams is the opportunity to learn and develop better oral hygiene practices. Your dentist can provide tailored advice based on the condition of your teeth and gums. This advice might include recommendations on brushing and flossing techniques, the type of toothbrush to use, the best toothpaste for your needs, and tips on diet and lifestyle to maintain optimal oral health.

  • Save on Dental Expenses

Preventive dental care, which includes regular checkups, cleanings, and early treatment, is much less expensive than the extensive dental work required to treat advanced problems. Timely dental checkups for well-being allow you to catch issues early and maintain good oral health. You can avoid the need for more complex and expensive treatments like root canals, tooth extractions, and dental implants.

When to Schedule Dental Checkups

The frequency of dental visits varies depending on individual needs. However, certain factors influence how often you should see your dentist:

  • Access and Availability

Dental checkup frequency may be influenced by accessibility and availability of dental services. Geographic location, such as urban areas like Toronto, facilitates scheduling, while rural or underserved areas face challenges due to distance or clinic availability. Socioeconomic factors like insurance coverage and income also impact access. Individuals with insurance or higher income levels are more likely to visit dentists regularly, while those without or have lower income may defer checkups due to cost concerns, potentially leading to more long-term dental issues.

  • Behaviour and Attitude

Personal attitudes and behaviours significantly impact oral health maintenance. Regular oral hygiene and diligent daily care routines, such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, reduce the likelihood of severe dental issues and reduce the frequency of dental visits. On the other hand, unwarranted concerns about dental visits can lead to undiagnosed or untreated issues. Educating yourself about regular dental checkups and creating a positive dental experience can encourage more proactive dental care.

  • Biology and Genetics

Genetics significantly affect dental health, with some individuals being genetically predisposed to dental issues like periodontal disease, tooth decay, or misalignments. Regular dental checkups are crucial for early detection and management. Genetic conditions also affect tooth and gum development, making regular dental oversight even more important. Individuals with such genetic predispositions may require specialized care and frequent monitoring for optimal oral health.

  • Lifestyle and Habits

Lifestyle choices significantly affect oral health, with sugary and acidic diets leading to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Excessive alcohol consumption also increases the risk. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and good hydration can promote better oral health. Those with harmful habits, like smoking, may require more frequent dental checkups, while those with healthier lifestyles may maintain good oral health with fewer dentist visits. Regular exercise and good hydration also support overall health.

Get regular dental checkups for a brighter smile

The role of dental visits in your overall health is very important. Individuals who do not have any dental issues should visit the dentist once a year, but those who do may need to go every 3 to 4 months. Generally, you should visit your dentist every six months.

To ensure your oral health is in top condition, consider scheduling your next appointment with our Toronto family dentist at Bloor West Dentistry at (416) 763-1283.