It may seem like it’s fine to skip routine dental care every now and then. While getting your cleaning a bit late every once in a while may not seem like a problem, you really don’t want to skip too many appointments. Routine dental care is actually the most important part of oral care other than brushing and flossing. Not only does it keep your smile looking great, but it’s also a good process for keeping you healthy overall.
That’s When You Find Things You Need to Fix
First, routine dental care like cleanings and x-rays is when you find the things you need to fix. Sure, you can spot problems in between cleanings, however, a lot of issues like cavities are often hidden and aren’t visible except on x-rays — you’re certainly not doing those yourself. By going in for cleanings and x-rays on a regular basis, you’re ensuring that you find problems before they get very big. If you don’t know when you’re supposed to go, Healthline says you want to get your teeth cleaned about every six months. As for x-rays, your dentist will usually want those done at least once a year.
Remove Plaque Before It Becomes Tartar
When you have your teeth cleaned, the dental assistant is removing tartar and plaque. Plaque forms from the bacteria on your teeth, and tartar is plaque that’s been there a long time and hardened. When you have your teeth cleaned every few months, the dental assistant can remove the plaque before it becomes tartar. Any tartar on your teeth hasn’t been there long and can be removed, too. Appointments go faster that way as well.
You Can’t Remove Tartar That’s Under Your Gums
Plaque and tartar can form under your gums, too. That is something you can’t floss or brush away. Only a dental assistant or dentist can get at that debris. If you don’t have it cleaned away, it can affect your gums and the bone underneath.
The State of Your Teeth and Gums Impacts Your Overall Health
An interesting thing about oral health is that bad oral health and lack of dental care often correspond to poor cardiac health and a higher risk of diseases like diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Bacteria from gum disease can affect the rest of your body, too. If nothing else, the idea that skipping a cleaning could increase your risk of long-term diseases should make you want to go back to the dentist as soon as possible.
If you haven’t had a cleaning in a while (and due to COVID, you’re certainly not alone), call your dentist. Arrange for the cleaning and x-rays so you can ensure that you’re keeping your body as healthy as possible.