What’s your reason for skipping your twice-yearly dental visits? Some people fear the sounds and smells of the dental office, some have dental anxiety and fear of perceived pain, and some don’t have dental insurance and can’t afford the out-of-pocket costs.
But one of the most frequent excuses we hear at OK Tooth here in Midtown Manhattan, New York, is that many people believe a good oral hygiene routine at home should be all it takes to maintain excellent oral health.
While brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day are certainly critical to your oral health, if that’s all you do, you’re not doing everything you can. Here, our team of dental experts explains why you need to keep your regular appointments even if you take good care of your teeth at home.
An ounce of prevention …
You know that preventing problems is wiser than treating them — that’s true for your car, your home, and your health. When you get busy, though, it’s hard to justify carving out time to care for something that’s not broken.
Like changing the oil in your car or screening your body for cancer and early warning signs of diseases, dental checkups are a form of preventive care that many people blow off. In fact, studies show that 36% of Americans go a whole year or more without seeing their dentist, and 24% only go once a year.
Whatever the reason or reasons behind those statistics, it indicates an alarming trend. If you haven’t been to a dentist in the past year, here are some compelling reasons you should consider making an appointment at OK Tooth today.
You can’t get rid of all plaque at home
Your mouth is an ecosystem, and every time you eat and drink, you introduce new bacteria to the system. Brushing and flossing help remove most of them, but if you eat or drink sugar or carbs, the bacteria use them as fuel to multiply.
The first problem is that these overabundant bacteria produce acid, and the acid eats away at the enamel of your teeth, which causes cavities and gum disease.
The second problem is that the bacteria create a biofilm called plaque that coats your teeth in a sticky layer of microbes that grow into thriving colonies. Your toothbrush can’t easily remove all of the plaque in your mouth, and if you skip a brushing or miss a spot, the plaque overtakes your teeth.
The third problem is that plaque mixes with minerals in your saliva and hardens on the surface of your teeth. This is called tartar, and you need the help of a dental professional — and our specialized tools — to get rid of it.
You may need more fluoride
Some people are more prone to getting cavities than others. If you have a chronic dry mouth, you sip and graze throughout the day, you eat a lot of sweets and carbs, or you have receding gums, you’re at a higher risk for developing cavities. Or genetics may have dealt you a bad hand — or in this case, a bad set of teeth.
Fluoride is a mineral that hardens your enamel and helps prevent cavities, but if you’re one of the lucky folks who are highly susceptible to cavities, you may need more protection than a fluoridated toothpaste can give you.
At OK Tooth, we use a more potent form of fluoride and bathe every surface of your teeth in the fortifying solution to keep cavities at bay.
We find problems you can’t see or feel
Most dental health issues are sneaky, and they begin without you even noticing there’s a problem. Cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease can generate a lot of damage before you ever feel pain or see signs like redness, swelling, or discoloration.
That's where we come in. At every six-month checkup, we perform a thorough examination, including X-rays if necessary, to detect lurking problems we can easily correct before they get out of control.
We polish your teeth
After your thorough cleaning, we polish your teeth to remove embedded stains and give your teeth a bright, shiny finish. Even if you use whitening toothpaste at home, it can’t give you the same level of brightness as professional cleaning and polishing. Bonus: Polishing helps prevent future stains from taking hold.
If it’s been awhile since your last dental appointment, it’s not too late to get back on track. Call or click to schedule a checkup and cleaning at OK Tooth, and prevent dental problems before they set in.