Today's post is authored by Oral Health Project Group member, Samuel Gafencu.
There was a time in American history when words such as plaque, gingivitis, flossing, fluoride, and even cavities sounded foreign to the majority of the population. “More than 50 years ago, examinations of people entering the military showed that Americans' teeth were in pretty bad shape”(1.). During these primitive times, Americans were not prioritizing their oral health as much as they should be. In recent years however, there has been a strong push to educate the American public about oral health (1.). Advancements such as water fluoridation, easily accessible oral hygiene products and orthodontics have allowed people to properly take care of their oral health. Despite these efforts, there are still a significant number of people who are not familiar with the importance of visiting a dentist regularly for their periodical oral cleaning and checkup.
The rule of thumb throughout the dental community is that everyone should visit the dentist at least twice a year (2.). 50 years ago, people would only go to the dentist when an ailment arises and never for preventative treatments. Thankfully, the push today is geared towards prevention of oral health issues (1.). By visiting a dentist at least biyearly, patients are more likely to reduce their risk of oral health issues, such as cavities, gingivitis, oral cancer, etc.
Despite highly advised, brushing your teeth twice a day followed by regular flossing and use of mouthwash is not merely enough. All of these practices are great ways to prevent oral health ailments from occurring, but what needs to be added to the list of oral health maintenance is an oral check up and cleaning at a good dentist (2.). Regular oral cleanings and checkups are needed because plaque and tartar can accumulate over time, even if you try to take care of your teeth with brushing, flossing, and mouthwash (2.). Dentists have the necessary tools and expertise to perform a thorough cleaning of the mouth. We can think of the mouth as a nice rug inside a home. You can vacuum the rug regularly, clean any spills that may occur occasionally, but with time, that rug will continue to get microscopically dirty. A professional carpet cleaner is needed in order to clean the rug in a way that you, as the owner, are not equipped to. Analogous to the perfect lines on your carpet after a professional clean, a visit to the dentist’s office will leave your teeth sparkly white!
To maintain that nice healthy clean smile that we all want to have, it is important to remember that regular visits with a dentist are necessary. If this step is omitted, plaque and tartar will begin to accumulate on your teeth resulting in the formation of oral diseases which can grow unrestrictedly. In sum, it is best to brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss, use a good mouthwash, and visit your dentist at least every six months to ensure your mouth’s health stays at an exceptional level (2).
(1.) How Often Should You Go to the Dentist?. (2014, July 5). Retrieved from Colgate-Palmolive Company. website: http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/article/how-often-should-you-go-to-the-dentist
(2.) Regular Dental Visits - Why Are They Important? . (n.d.). Retrieved from The Procter & Gamble Company website: http://www.dentalcare.com/en-US/dental-education/patient-education/regular-english.aspx