Posted August 4, 2015
After brushing and flossing your teeth, you look in the mirror to inspect your pearly whites. They look clean, but are they? Particles of foods and clumps of sugar from beverages may be hiding in areas you can’t see or reach. If not removed, food particles and sugars may combine with oral bacteria to form plaque on your teeth, which could lead to decay and gum or periodontal disease.
Keep teeth and gums healthy
The American Dental Association says seeing the dentist on a regular basis for professional cleanings and checkups is necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy and to detect early signs of possible oral and medical problems.
Sometimes people don’t schedule dental checkups because they think it’s too expensive. Dental insurance usually covers the cost of preventive care and assists with reducing the cost of common dental procedures.
Dental care need
More than 47 percent of American adults over age 30 have mild to severe forms of periodontal disease, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For those age 65 and older, the number increases to 70 percent. At least 27 percent of adults age 20 and older have untreated tooth decay.
Dental visit guidelines
According to a 2013 CDC report, 61 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 have visited the dentist within the past year. If you have oral health issues or certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, you may need to see the dentist more often. The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine provides this advice:
- For many people, seeing the dentist two times each year is a good guideline.
- If dental health is good with little risk of cavities, the dentist may recommend scheduling an appointment once a year.
- People at high risk for dental diseases may need to see the dentist more regularly. High-risk categories include individuals with active gum disease, a weak immune system, tendency for cavities or plaque buildup, or those who are pregnant, smoke or have diabetes.
- Dental health may change due to medications, stress or medical conditions, requiring more frequent dental checkups to ensure good oral health.