When you finally bought your dream car did you let it sit unattended to in the driveway for years at a time, or did you enjoy taking it out on the open road? Chances are you couldn’t wait to hit the open road, or even to head to the grocery store, all because you were so excited to get behind the wheel. That said, you also likely knew that the more miles you put on your car, the more necessary it became to take it for regular maintenance. After all, the little time it takes to get oil changes, tire rotation, and other preventive measures can pay off big time, by helping to prolong the life of your dream car, or any car, for that matter. Well, your smile is similar to your car, in that a bit of preventive dental maintenance now can help you enjoy it for years to come.
Ever wondered how much you really know about how to best care for your smile? Have questions you’ve been too embarrassed to ask your dentist? Taking time to better understand what preventive dental care really requires, and then following through on your dentist’s advice, is a great way to help protect your smile from common oral health threats, like cavities and even gum disease. In fact, if you want to enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile it is crucial to understand what your teeth and gums need!
How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?
Many people believe that they should visit the dentist once a year, but most dentists agree that bi-annual checkups and cleanings are actually the best way to protect the smile. That’s because tartar buildup can only be removed through a professional cleaning, and the longer it stays on the smile, the more likely a person is to develop cavities, gum disease, and even tooth infections.
For those particularly prone to cavities, the dentist might even recommend more frequent cleanings.
Is Mouthwash a Good Substitute for Flossing?
Brushing is important to keeping the teeth clean. That said, flossing is also essential to removing plaque bacteria and food particles that can both irritate the gums, and eventually lead to acid erosion of the teeth’s enamel.
Mouthwash can be a beneficial addition to one’s dental care routine, however it is no substitute for flossing, as it is simply not as effective at removing bacteria from between the crevices of the teeth.
Avoid Problems with Regular Preventive Care
Cavities and gum disease are two of the most common dental problems faced by kids and adults alike. Nearly 90 percent of adults will struggle with cavities, and millions of Americans are estimated to struggle with gum disease, a chronic condition that can have negative effects on one’s entire body, beyond just the smile.
Fortunately these and many other dental issues are largely preventable with proper dental care.
- Daily dental hygiene at-home is important. Think of it like adding gas to your tank, or checking your oil. Daily dental maintenance, like teeth brushing and flossing, is fast and inexpensive, yet it can reduce the risk of pesky dental problems, and discomfort.
- Routine dental visits are also crucial, though. They’re similar to having your oil changed or your tires changed. They cost a bit more money than daily care, but they can help to save a great deal of trouble and money down the road, by preventing worsening dental issues.
- In the case of the smile, once plaque has calcified onto teeth, it can only be removed through a professional cleaning. Left unaddressed, plaque bacteria is what leads to cavities that would likely require restorative dentistry, as well as gingivitis, which can require extensive periodontal cleanings.
- This is why most dentists recommend visiting twice a year for an exam and cleaning, however if you have been prone to dental decay in the past, you may find that more frequent visits are necessary for you to preserve your oral health.