Regular brushing and flossing and a nutritious diet are essential for good oral health. But an excellent at-home oral hygiene regimen may not be enough to prevent dental issues. Bi-annual dental cleanings and oral health assessments are critical to your oral and overall health.
Discover six consequences of skipping your six-month dental check-up, and why regular dental cleanings and assessments benefit your health.
1. Plaque Buildup
When you skip a professional hygiene cleaning, plaque builds up in hard-to-reach places and hardens into tartar. Tartar is challenging to remove at home with brushing, flossing, and an antiseptic mouthwash. Once tartar has formed, only a dental professional can remove it.
Tartar buildup along the gum line can lead to gingivitis, which is reversible with regular cleanings from your dental hygienist. If left untreated, it advances to periodontitis, forming pockets between your gums and teeth, damaging the tissues and bones that hold your teeth in place.
To minimize plaque between dental visits, use an ADA-approved electric toothbrush, tartar control toothpaste with fluoride, and limit sugary foods.
Your dental hygienist cleans and polishes your teeth every six months, removing plaque, tartar, and surface stains. Missing a cleaning can result in a dull smile and lower your self-confidence.
Twice yearly cleanings can make your teeth cleaner and brighter. For deep stains, discuss your teeth brightening options with your dentist. Your dentist may recommend a cosmetic solution such as a professional teeth whitening treatment or porcelain veneers, depending on your smile goals.
3. Bad Breath
Plaque harbors bacteria and can result in bad breath, especially if you have signs of gum disease.
Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth, smoking and tobacco use, kidney and liver disease, or a throat or respiratory infection.
Regular assessments by your dentist can help determine the cause of your bad breath and if you need medical intervention from your doctor.
4. Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Skipping a dental appointment means your gum health is compromised, and you have an elevated risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Red, swollen, tender, and bleeding gums are signs of gum disease. As gum disease progresses, you may experience discomfort when chewing, gum recession, chronic bad breath, and bone and tooth loss.
Patients with gum disease are at an elevated risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular issues.
A regular hygiene cleaning helps keep your gums healthy and your smile bright.
Cavities are easily treatable with regular dental appointments. Missing an appointment allows bacteria, plaque, and tartar to accumulate and eat away at your tooth enamel creating holes in your teeth.
An untreated cavity may need a root canal, dental crown, or even extraction.
6. Oral Cancer
More than 50,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed annually in the US. Oral cancer can affect the tongue, lips, roof, and floor of your mouth, cheeks, throat, and sinuses.
Your dentist screens you for oral cancer at your routine dental exam to detect and treat oral cancer at the earliest stages. Early detection has the best chance of a successful treatment outcome.
Schedule Your Dental Check-Up Today
Skipping a dental check-up may not seem like a big deal, but oral health problems develop and progress quickly. If it has been more than six months since your last dental check-up, contact our practice today at (708) 371-3844 to schedule your dental cleaning and evaluation.