Why Do I Need to See a Dentist Twice a Year?
Seeing a dentist at least two times per year helps in maintaining overall optimal health & hygiene for your teeth & mouth. There are several reasons to visit the dentist every six months:
Early Diagnosing of Tooth Decay
The primary reason to visit your dentist routinely is to avoid dental issues such as cavities & gum disease. These issues may seem minor at first but they can lead to more serious problems & even major dental concerns if they are not addressed early. So, catching these problems sooner than later can be less invasive & less expensive.
Brushing & flossing alone is not enough. Proper, thorough & routine home care can be challenging at times, especially performing both tasks correctly. Your dental hygienist will show you the proper technique to brush & floss. They are trained to help you with this & knowledgeable in making other suggestions and/or recommendations on your daily oral health care routine. A healthy set of teeth is crucial to enhancing your appearance.
Diagnosis of Severe Dental Disease
Studies have shown that over 30,000 Americans suffer from oral cancer each year. Fortunately, early detection of severe dental disease such as oral cancer can help save your life. Your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening during your regular 6 month visit. Oral cancer is known to spread quickly but can easily prevented with routine dental visits.
Regular dental visits will allow the dentist and/or hygienist to diagnose gum problems early on which can be reversed if detected in the early stage. Some signs & symptoms of early gum disease are bleeding, inflammation, tenderness, & in some cases bad breath and/or foul odor. Also, any sensitivity to cold and/or sweets can be indicative of gum disease as well. If you notice any of these signs, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible to minimize more invasive issues.
I’ve heard I don’t really need to floss. Is that true ?
WAIT! Before you get too excited & believe all the hype on the news regarding the fact that flossing is not as effective as dentists have preached to you about for years, you must know that the research performed were of “poor quality”. The evidence produced was deemed “weak” & “unreliable,” by a 2011 Cochran review of just 12 studies.
Other, more recent reviews have also cited “inconsistent/weak evidence” & poorly designed studies—some lasting only two weeks.
To get good data, studies would need to be done for years with flossers & non-flossers and would be very expensive, & flossing is not exactly on the top of the list of pressing public health concerns.
The idea of dental floss is about 200 years old & invented by a dentist in New Orleans who was convinced of its benefits. The American Dental Association has been encouraging flossing ever since that time.
Remember that while the effectiveness of flossing isn’t “proven”, it’s also not “disproven”. The dentist at Cypress Dental Excellence has been practicing now for over 23 years & the dental hygienist for 30 years now. In treating patients for this amount of time, we have first hand experience that flossing is effective.
In our practice, we have found that flossing does indeed reduce inflammation & bleeding of the gums, indications that are considered the first signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). Flossing is one of the most common health recommendations. It is right up there with the importance of eating vegetables & drinking water.
Many people have not done research on their own to learn that we all have millions of bacteria in our mouths. These millions of bacteria exist in the soft bacterial plaque (white biofilm) which is constantly accumulating on our teeth 24/7. Some of the bacteria are cavity causing & some bacteria are responsible for causing the progression of gum disease.
As we all feel at times that we are brushing often & thoroughly enough, brushing alone will not remove this destructive bacteria from in between the teeth. Unfortunately, we have to work this floss correctly in between to remove this sticky bacterial film. In this process, we are also stimulating the soft tissue (gums) which conditions them & keeps them healthier.
So, if you want to reduce the amount of decay you are experiencing & reduce your risk of gum disease, YES, you do need to floss. Your dental hygienist will always be more than happy to teach you proper technique to make it more effective.
Most patients will find that when they visit their dentist routinely & comply with the home care regimen that their dentist and/or hygienist recommends, they will start noticing the healthy changes with their teeth/mouth & usually end up enjoying their visits. Please make visiting your dentist a priority as it will benefit you in so many ways.