A trip to the dentist often gives rise to anxiety. No one wants to hear they have multiple cavities or need a root canal. However, it’s important not to let this hold you back. Yes, you’re going to have to grin and bear it. Here are the top reasons to stay on top of regular dental check-ups:

1. Plaque removal and basic dental hygiene:

We’ve all heard about that evil plaque that builds up on our teeth. Maybe you think your stellar brushing habits will keep it at bay. Nope. Dentists and dental hygienists use specialized equipment to banish plaque and calculus, often referred to as tartar. While brushing your teeth can remove plaque that is in the form of a soft film, eventually calculus, or tartar, hardens within the plaque. No toothbrush or mouthwash can remove this or the plaque that accumulates under the gum line. The only thing that will work is a dental scaler or ultrasonic scaler and only a professional knows how to properly use these instruments.

What’s the problem with plaque and tartar? Aside from trapping stains, they can cause gum disease and cavities. If gum disease is ignored and not treated in a timely manner, it starts to eat away at the bone that holds the teeth in place, which is a reason for tooth loss. You definitely want to hold onto those pearly whites.

Most people think they have at home dental care down to a science. Yet, a large number of people don’t floss daily and some don’t floss correctly. This lack of flossing leads to the formation of “flossing cavities,” which can’t be seen in a routine examination. A dental x-ray is needed to find them. A dentist can teach you the proper way to care for your smile. Plus, they’ll make you feel guilty if you’re not flossing and perhaps kick this good habit into high gear.

2. Bad breath:

Those onions you had on your sandwich at lunch or that cup of coffee you gulped down at the office aren’t the only causes of bad breath. In fact, illnesses, such as nasal and stomach conditions, can also cause this embarrassing problem. Other key reasons for nasty breath include periodontitis (dental infection and inflammation) or a rotting tooth. The key cause of persistent bad breath is oral bacteria that releases gas byproducts. Popping mints all day won’t mask the smell. An in-office cleaning will seriously lower your bacteria level. In addition, your dentist can get to the bottom of what might be causing your breath issues and treat it or refer you for treatment. There are healthier ways to maintain your personal space!

3. Gingivitis and periodontitis:

Gingivitis is marked by swollen, inflamed gums that have been irritated by plaque and tartar. Gums may bleed and brushing and flossing can be painful. If not treated, the symptoms of gingivitis will spread from the gums to the bone that holds the roots of your teeth and result in periodontitis. As mentioned above, periodontitis causes bad breath and loose teeth. Unfortunately, it cannot be reversed. Prevention and early detection are essential to either stop it from progressing or to ensure it doesn’t happen in the first place. This is a compelling reason to get to your dentist. A professional can check out the health of your gums and tell you ways to reduce the bacteria in your mouth for optimal oral health.

4. Cavities:

The drilling, the fillings, and the discomfort of having someone’s hands in your mouth, are a small price to pay to ward off tooth loss. Bacteria causes cavities when it breaks down sugar and creates acidic byproducts that result in holes in your teeth. Dental loops, high-powered lighting, and x-rays allow the dentist to hone in on cavities at their earliest stages. Not only will you be safe from tooth loss, the cavities will be small. The smaller the cavity is, the tinier the filling and the lower your dental bill will be. The process will be much quicker and more comfortable. X-rays are important because they can help identify cavities that can’t be seen by inspecting your mouth. Known as “flossing cavities,” the invisible teeth destroyers are due to a lack of using dental floss daily.

Perhaps the biggest bonus of detecting cavities early is that a professional fluoride treatment and better oral hygiene can stop or, in some cases, reverse cavities. If you notice tooth discoloration or sensitivity, especially when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages, a check-up is in order. However, some individuals don’t have symptoms making cavities tough to detect on your own. Regular dental cleanings, supreme oral hygiene, and changes to your diet will lower your risk.

5. Oral cancer screenings:

Oral cancer is when a malignant growth forms in any part of your mouth, including the throat, lips, and tongue. According to a dental expert, there is a mortality rate of over 50% and the disease causes more deaths than breast cancer, skin cancer, and cervical cancer. Why? Because signs of oral cancer usually only appear late in the development of the disease. This is a condition that you want detected as early as possible, as recovery is almost always possible at an early stage.

Your dentist checks for changes and abnormalities in the mouth. They know the signs of oral cancer and can give you an early warning concerning a potential case. When you get the correct treatment as soon as possible, you have the maximum chance of successfully overcoming it.

Hopefully these reasons will motivate you to call your dentist and schedule a check-up and cleaning. We often overlook oral health, because of expense, an overcrowded schedule, and anxiety. But this will be nothing compared to the time and money spent resolving ignored issues or the anxiety you will feel if your dental health takes a turn for the worse. Take care of your teeth now and prevent serious problems down the road.

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