The Importance of Routine Dental Exams

 The Importance of Routine Dental Exams

Everyone knows it’s critical to see their dentist regularly — typically, once every six months. But do you know why? There are lots of reasons.

At Harbor Community Health Centers, our team offers complete dental care at our three locations in San Pedro, California, helping patients manage their oral health at every stage of life. Here are six reasons why seeing a dentist regularly is so important for your oral health and your overall wellness.

1. Preventing cavities

One of the biggest reasons to have regular dental visits is to stop tooth decay before it has a chance to cause more damage. Caught early, most cavities can be treated with a very small filling, and with regular cleanings and proper home care, they can even be prevented. Sealants and fluoride treatments give your teeth the extra protection to stay strong and repel decay.

2. Avoiding gum disease

Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss for American men and women. About half of American adults have some form of gum disease right now. Just like cavities, gum disease can be halted with proper preventive care. 

During your checkups, the hygienist removes built-up plaque and hard tartar deposits to prevent bacteria from migrating into the gum tissue. Then, you’ll learn steps you can take to keep your gums healthy between appointments.

3. Checking for cancer

About 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancers each year. Like other cancers, oral cancers start small, so you probably won’t even notice anything until the cancer reaches a more advanced stage.

During regular dental exams, your dentist performs a simple cancer screening, checking for abnormal changes that could indicate a very early stage of cancer. If the dentist notices an unusual tissue area, they can take a tiny tissue sample (a biopsy) for lab evaluation.

4. Treating underlying problems

Temporomandibular joint disorder, bite problems, alignment issues, chronic dry mouth, and other oral health problems best respond to early treatment. Having an exam every six months significantly increases the likelihood of oral health problems being spotted early when treatment is simplest (and least costly).

5. Reducing health risks

Research suggests links between the bacteria that cause gum disease and other health issues, like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory ailments, some cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. Routine cleanings get rid of the bacteria causing these and other health problems.

6. Beautifying your smile

The gentle abrasives and professional cleaning tools your dentist and hygienist use help eliminate superficial stains and yellowing, so your teeth look healthier, and your smile looks more attractive. Plus, professional cleanings help keep your breath fresh by eliminating bacteria-harboring tartar and plaque.

Are you overdue for your exam?

Skipping an exam might be tempting, especially with summer here. But considering an exam only takes about an hour, it’s easy to see how a little time investment can make a big difference. To schedule your dental checkup and cleaning, call 310-547-0202 or book an appointment online today.

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