Innovations in dental care make it possible for teeth to be preserved for a lifetime; however, at least 120 million Americans are missing one or more. Although tooth loss can occur for various reasons, decay and gum disease are the top culprits, which can be surprising since both issues are preventable. While you may not believe you need a dentist until after you have a concern, you’re placing your smile at risk. Here’s how you can harness the power of prevention for the early detection of oral health problems.
1. Visit Your Dentist Semi-Annually
Brushing and flossing aren’t enough to prevent cavities and gum disease. The American Dental Association recommends a cleaning and checkup at least twice a year. Every $1 spent on preventive dentistry can save up to $50 on restorative and emergency costs because your dentist can stop common problems from occurring. Your dentist will remove plaque and tartar accumulations left behind by your toothbrush and floss to keep your gums healthy. They will also examine your smile to ensure there aren’t any untreated dental issues lingering in your mouth, like a cavity. Your dentist can recommend specific preventive services to safeguard your smile, such as a fluoride varnish.
2. Avoid a Dental Emergency
Although you may never expect it to happen to you, 1 in 6 Americans has a dental emergency annually. They aren’t always caused by trauma to the mouth. Instead, they often result from untreated oral health problems, like tooth decay. You can avoid an unplanned trip to your emergency dentist with a semi-annual checkup.
3. Invest in a Healthy Mouth and Body
Your oral and general health are entwined. Various dental issues can affect your overall wellness, but gum disease is particularly concerning. Although it’s preventable, at least 50% of Americans have the infection, which is the leading cause of tooth loss. Unfortunately, it won’t just wreak havoc on your smile. The infection can enter your bloodstream, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other conditions. A routine checkup allows your dentist to monitor your gum health. They can detect the infection in the earliest stage to treat it before it causes lasting complications.
4. Early Oral Cancer Diagnosis
A cleaning and checkup aren’t the only reasons to visit your dentist. They can also perform an oral cancer screening. Over 50,000 people are diagnosed annually. Although it’s treatable, often it isn’t diagnosed until after it has metastasized. Late detection is attributed to the mortality rate. It’s believed 80% of new cases can be detected early by a dentist.
Don’t underestimate the power of preventive dentistry. You can enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts with routine visits to your dentist.
About Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury
Dr. Stansbury earned his dental degree at the Baylor College of Dentistry. He has undergone extensive continuing education to preserve his patients’ natural smiles. He focuses on prevention to invest in lasting oral health. If it’s time for your next cleaning and checkup, contact our office today.