One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a reduction in the number of people receiving regular dental check-ups or accessing care for specific dental problems.
The reasons behind fewer people seeing their dentist range from dental offices being closed in the very early stages of last year’s pandemic to concerns related to cost or not having insurance. As our economy continues to reopen and return to a higher level of normalcy, it’s important for people to be aware of their dental health and return to normal routines of receiving care.
In other words, it’s not a bad idea to review some of the basics of dental care and why it’s important to maintain your dental health. Some of the basics, include:
- The importance of regular teeth cleanings: Professional cleanings conducted every six months, or what is recommended by your dental hygienist, are important for overall dental health—even for those who brush their teeth thoroughly twice a day and floss regularly. The hygienist will remove built-up plaque and tartar in hard-to-reach spaces that even brushing and flossing can miss. That means regular cleanings help prevent cavities and the onset of gum disease. It also means that regular cleanings are even more important for people who may have less-than-ideal oral hygiene practices.Don’t forget that if you have dental insurance, most plans cover two cleanings per year. Also, professionally cleaned teeth feel great, look better, and leave you with the satisfaction that you’ve done a good deed not only for your teeth but also for your overall health.
- Brush twice a day to keep plaque away: Plaque is a film that accumulates naturally on your teeth every day. Unfortunately, excess plaque can lead to serious dental problems. Composed largely of bacteria, plaque can react with the residue of food and beverages you’ve consumed and release acids that gradually damage the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities.Without consistent brushing and flossing, plaque that remains on your teeth eventually will harden and become calculus, also known as tartar. As plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, your gums can become swollen and tender, which is an early symptom of gum disease. As gum disease progresses, it can break down and destroy the tissue and bone that supports your teeth.Research has even indicated a link between gum disease and other serious health problems like stroke, heart disease, pneumonia, and complications in pregnancy. You can combat plaque problems by brushing twice a day and flossing daily, minimizing sugary foods and beverages, and seeing your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
- Cavities develop without you feeling them: The occurrence of pain in a tooth signifies a problem has reached a more advanced stage and may nerve involvement. That’s why you shouldn’t wait until a tooth hurts. Having regular dental exams and x-rays can lead to a cavity being caught early—and that’s good news. Yes, the cavity will still need to be treated; however, a cavity that goes undetected until it’s causing pain can possibly mean that it will be more difficult—and expensive—to fix.
- It’s never too late to start receiving care: Whether it’s been six months or six years, it’s never too late to get back into the routine. At Associated Dentists, we can arrange for you to have a thorough and educational exam appointment. We have been taking care of people just like you for over 50 years – take advantage of our experience! We’re here to help!