Why You Should Schedule a Dental Exam Every Six Months
For some reason, the topic of how often one should be seen by a dentist is always up for debate, but the general consensus seems to be about every six months. This is enough time to detect the onset of problems early and, hopefully, avoid costly dental procedures. That said, taking care of your teeth is one of the best things that you can do improve your overall health. Yes, dental checkups can reveal problems that extend beyond just your teeth.
In fact, according to an article on webmd.com, an online publisher of news and information pertaining to human health and well-being, a standard dental exam can detect diabetes, oral cancer, and heart disease. Additionally, these exams have been shown to detect low birth weight in pregnant women. If you have been putting off being seen by a dentist, there’s no time like the present to schedule an exam. Having said that, the remainder of this article will address how regular exams and cleanings can help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile for as long as possible.
Why Brushing And Flossing Is Not Enough
Contrary to popular belief, practicing good brushing and flossing habits at home is not enough to keep your teeth in tip-top condition. Those who do not visit a dentist regularly are unnecessarily jeopardizing their oral health, not to mention their bodily health. Despite our best efforts, plaque can still develop on our teeth, and if plaque is not removed, it can develop into tartar, a hard calcified deposit that forms on the teeth that can lead to gum disease.
It should be noted that gum disease is 100 percent preventable, provided you see a dentist regularly. What can you expect if you develop gum disease? Well, tooth loss is often precipitated by gum disease, so at the very minimum, you can expect to lose some of your teeth. To that point, gum disease, unlike cavities, is not painful. Therefore, it’s quite possible that you could have gum disease and not even know it, bringing us back to the importance of regular exams.
Most dental problems cannot be observed by the human eye; therefore, as part of your dental exam, dental practitioners will use x-rays to detect dental caries and other problems that may be occurring in your gums or the teeth themselves.
Oral Cancer Detection
Oral cancer is easily one of the most treatable forms of cancer, provided it is detected early. In fact, an article published by the University of Rochester, a leading private university in New York, detailed the following statistics relative to oral cancer survival rates:
- 84% for cancer that has not spread beyond where it first started
- 64% for cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes
- 39% for cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body
So as you can see, the longer cancer goes undetected, the lower the survival rate becomes. That said, if you smoke or chew tobacco, you should be seen by a dentist regularly as tobacco use increases the chances of developing oral cancer exponentially.
In summation, good health does not only pertain to bodily health but also oral health. The best way to stay ahead of any illness is to schedule routine exams with your health care provider, and dental exams are no exception.