While most people don’t visit their doctor unless they are ill, the same mentality often pervades their attitudes when it comes to dental health; many people elect not to have their regular check-up with their family dentist because they aren’t experiencing toothache, or bleeding gums, or sensitive teeth when their check-up falls due.
When we fall ill, it is often without warning. We might feel well one day, and fall ill the next; there’s no way to accurately predict when we’re likely to be sick, and the germs and bacteria that cause illnesses can be contracted regardless of how well we might look after ourselves.
However, maintaining dental health is different from maintaining physical health. Our teeth require regular cleaning with a good toothpaste, and allied with dental flossing and mouthwashes, we can help to preserve good levels of dental health.
But what happens in between brushings? Most people will brush their teeth when they first wake up, and again just before they go to bed. But very few people brush in between these times; this in turn allows plaque – a clear, sticky acidic substance – to form on our teeth, which attacks tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
While regular brushing helps to minimize the formation of plaque, the time plaque spends on our teeth between brushings can still accumulate; even though we might think there’s no problem as we brush regularly, and so remove plaque, there remains the opportunity for plaque to erode and weaken tooth enamel over time.
Regular visits to a family dentist – most dentists will recommend you visit at six monthly intervals – can help to detect any potential problems a patient might have, and allows the dentist to perform remedial action. They also provide an opportunity for the patient to discuss with their dentist any worries or concerns they might have about their dental health, or to seek help and advice about caring for their teeth and gums.
Regular dental examinations are a necessary part of maintaining good dental health, and so while you might not be experiencing any symptoms relating to your dental health currently, don’t be complacent in thinking there’s no problems formulating, even if you do brush and floss regularly!