While Dr. Beck and the South Waterfront Dental staff in South Portland highly recommend our patients visit twice a year for checkups, you may wonder why such regular visits are necessary. Especially when you routinely receive a healthy, cavity-free diagnosis. But there are some very important reasons to visit your dentist on a regular basis. Today, we’re going to discuss those benefits and how they can protect you from serious dental issues in the future.
Don’t let unhealthy habits cause serious damage
We all have an unhealthy habit or two. But did you know that certain unhealthy habits can negatively impact your oral health? The following are some common habits that can hurt your teeth:
- Brushing your teeth too hard can wear down your teeth and irritate your gums.
- Eating sugary candy like gummies and hard candy tend to stick to your teeth, causing more decay and cavities.
- Eating ice puts your teeth at risk of chipping or cracking. It can also irritate the tissue around your teeth.
- Biting your nails can stress and wear down your teeth, which can result in misalignment or being more prone to plaque buildup.
- Grinding or clenching can chip, crack, and wear down your teeth as well as cause pain or damage to your jaw.
- The color and acidity of coffee or red wine can stain your teeth.
- Opening things with your teeth such as packages, bottles, or other objects.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco increases the risk of oral cancer. Tobacco users are also more likely to experience gum disease, tooth discoloration, and tooth loss.
The good news is that these issues can be reduced or avoided when you receive regular dental care.
Stop gum disease before it starts
Daily brushing and flossing are the two most important things you can do at home to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But even the most diligent brusher can miss or not adequately clean certain areas of the mouth. This can lead to a buildup of plaque, a sticky biofilm made up of harmful oral bacteria and food particles. If allowed to build up on your teeth, it transforms into a calcified form called tartar. (Tartar is a yellowish substance that discolors your teeth and irritates your gum tissue.)
This inflammation then leads to the development of early-stage gum disease known as gingivitis. With gingivitis, gum tissue can bleed as well as become swollen and tender to the touch. If not treated early on, it can develop into periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease. (Periodontitis is also the leading cause of permanent tooth loss in adults.) This is why the hygienist cleans and polishes your teeth during each visit, removing any buildup of plaque and tartar.
Keep an eye out for oral cancer
Oral cancer is cancer that develops in any part of the mouth, including the lips, gums, tongue, and inner cheeks. Because it might not present with easy-to-recognize symptoms, oral cancer can spread before you even realize something is wrong. Fortunately, Dr. Beck is highly trained to recognize the early signs of oral cancer. Along with your head and lymph nodes, he’ll check your palate, cheeks, and tongue for any sign of cancer or infection.
The likelihood of Dr. Beck spotting any signs of oral cancer early on are significantly higher if you visit regularly. And, if caught early, the survival rate is very high. So even if nothing seems wrong with your oral health, there might be something lurking below the surface that could cause significant problems in the future.
Save your money
Another advantage to keep in mind is the money you’ll save by visiting the dentist on a regular basis. This is because, when left untreated, most oral health problems only become worse as well as more expensive to deal with. For example, a small cavity will become progressively bigger, requiring a cap or crown or even a root canal to fix instead of a simple and more inexpensive filling. So, keep your teeth looking and feeling their best and save money.
Ready for your next checkup? Schedule an exam with Dr. Beck today.