It’s important to visit the dentist at least once a year for a cleaning, checkup, and any recommended treatments. However, you can help your teeth stay clean and healthy at home, too. Brushing and flossing daily helps keep plaque levels down, gums pink and healthy, and prevents cavities.
Why do your teeth need this kind of attention? Essentially, it's because over time they tend to build up a layer of plaque (a sticky, bacteria-rich film) and hard deposits (called tartar, or calculus) that are very difficult to remove without special tools. When these deposits are allowed to remain on the tooth surfaces or below the gum line, they provide ideal conditions for bacteria to grow and multiply. The acids produced by some bacteria cause tooth decay and gum disease; if left uncontrolled, this can lead to inflammation and infection of the gums, and possibly influence systemic (whole body) diseases. An unhealthy mouth has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.
At each continuing care appointment, your hygienist and doctor will update your medical and health history, answer any questions you may have, complete an oral cancer screening, gingival (gum) health evaluation, determine if you have any cavities or other dental problems along with risk factors, discuss dental disease prevention, and create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Everyone benefits from regular dental care, especially children. Preventative sealants and education lead to a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth. Adults who care regularly for their teeth can cut down on restorative procedures.