You might not look forward to your twice-yearly dental exam, but there’s no denying that those visits are extremely important for maintaining oral health and preventing serious problems. Considering that a typical exam only takes about an hour, it’s a minimal investment that can yield a big payoff over time.
At Harbor Community Health Centers, we make it easy for patients in San Pedro, California, to get comprehensive oral health care, including regular checkups and cleanings. In this post, our team lists eight of the most important benefits of having regular dental exams.
1. Preventing decay and disease
About half of people aged 30 and older have gum disease, including milder gum disease that may not cause symptoms but still increases your risk of deep infections and tooth loss. Plenty of people of all ages have tooth decay, another cause of infection and tooth loss. Fortunately, each of these common issues can be treated — and even prevented — with regular dental checkups.
2. Diagnosing problems early
Cavities and gum disease are just two issues that benefit from early diagnosis. Teeth grinding habits, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and bite disorders are also pretty common, and without prompt care, they can lead to chronic pain and increased risks of decay and infection. Regular checkups give us the opportunity to spot these problems early so they can be treated before developing into something far more serious.
3. Cleaning where brushing and flossing miss
Brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, but you're bound to miss some spots no matter how well you perform your home care routine. Regular dental visits include careful cleaning to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria, even in the hardest-to-reach places in your mouth. Plus, we can help you improve your home care with tips tailored specifically to your unique oral health needs.
4. Fresher breath
What do garlic, onions, and coffee all have in common? They can all cause temporary bad breath. Fortunately, this type of bad breath typically can be avoided with brushing, flossing, and maybe a little mouthwash. But chronic bad breath is often a sign of a more serious problem, like decay, infection, or dry mouth. During your checkup, we can determine the cause of your bad breath and treat it so that you can enjoy better oral health and greater confidence.
5. Screening for oral cancer
Every year, more than 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancers. During your visit, our team screens for oral cancer, carefully evaluating your gums, palate, and other areas. We may take a tiny sample for further evaluation if we notice any unusual tissue.
6. More beautiful smiles (and greater confidence)
In addition to a thorough cleaning, our team uses special products with mild abrasives to remove superficial stains on your teeth. The result is a more dazzling, more attractive smile you can be proud of. Plus, regular cleanings can help keep deeper stains at bay, too.
7. Reduced overall health risks
The same bacteria involved in oral health issues, like gum disease, have also been linked with an increased risk of systemic health issues. Without prompt treatments, cavities, gum disease, and deep infections can allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream, where they can spread to your heart and other organs. Plus, when bacteria are left to multiply in your mouth, you can increase your risk of pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses when those germs are inhaled.
8. Lower costs in the future
Without treatment, even a minor dental issue can become a lot more serious — and a lot more costly to treat and correct — over time. Regular dental visits identify problems early so they can benefit from treatment when it’s less involved and more budget-friendly.
Schedule your next checkup
Regular dental exams are one of the best things you can do for your oral health and overall wellness and well-being. To schedule your six-month checkup, call 310-547-0202 to schedule an appointment with the Harbor Community Health Centers team today.