Dental health is one of those areas of healthcare that everyone knows is important, but one that far too many people overlook. Brushing alone is not enough, and while flossing does help, it’s wise to schedule at least two dentist appointments each year for checkups and teeth cleaning. Ignoring one’s dental health can have dire consequences, like gum disease and serious health complications that can all be avoided with a trip or two to the dentist.
It’s never too young to begin seeing the dentist, either. In fact, some suggest that as soon as a child’s first tooth arrives, it’s time to schedule a visit. The ADA advises parents not to wait long, either, saying that parents should schedule a dentist appointment 6 months after the first tooth arrives. When it comes to children and flossing, as soon as a child has two teeth that are touching, parents should be helping them floss. After all, brushing only does so much. It doesn’t get the whole job done, which is why flossing is required to ensure a good quality cleaning.
Dental health isn’t just all about brushing and flossing, though. In making sure to schedule routine exams, adults and children can often learn of mild problems caused by their teeth or poor dental health that would have otherwise become more serious problems later down the road. For example, cavities are a common dental problem for adults and children alike. Untreated, they can lead to tooth aches, headaches, and complications like periodontitis and gingivitis. Unfortunately, about 26% of adults in the U.S. have untreated cavities, and half of U.S. adults have some stage of periodontitis. Gingivitis, on the other hand, affects about 75% of the entire U.S. population!
Dentists can also help spot and treat tooth clenching, something that often leads to headaches and discomfort. Tooth grinding is incredibly bad for the teeth, and is equal to placing around 300 lbs. of pressure on the teeth, particularly during sleep. Oftentimes, tooth grinding can result in muscle tension. Typically when a dentist discovers a patient has been grinding their teeth, they’ll recommend they wear a mouthguard at night to help protect the teeth and relieve the muscle tension.
Oral hygiene is important, and because of that, people will always need dentists and the services they provide. To help people in their quest to take better care of their teeth, many stores now carry a slew of oral hygiene products, like teeth cleaning kits, tongue cleaners, and even night guards. So really, there’s no excuse to ignore your dental health.