Most people know the importance of brushing their teeth every day. But do you know how important regular dental checkups are too? And are you doing everything you can to keep your dental health a priority in between dental visits? We’ve got five things you need to know to keep your dental health in check.
You need to see your dentist every 6 months
While it might seem like you’re just going in for a quick cleaning, your dentist is also checking for important signs or dental health and any potential problems. Be sure to let your dentist know if you've had any changes to your health history; these can be important to consider when assessing your oral health. The earlier you can catch potential issues, the better.
“For the vast majority of the dental problems, identifying them early provides the patient with the best outcome,” says Dr. Nicholas Economos of the Iowa Dental Group External Site.
Your dentist can help diagnose certain diseases or conditions
According to Dr. Economos, there are skin conditions, digestive issues, and cardiovascular and blood disorders that can present symptoms in your mouth. “However, the condition that seems to have the most evidence-based link to oral health is diabetes. Diabetes can significantly impact an individual’s gum tissue and contribute to gum disease,” he says.
Since you likely see your dentist more often than your primary care physician (PCP), your dentist can help you identify potential diagnoses that will impact your overall health.
Children need to see a dentist sooner than you think
“It is recommended that children have their first dental appointment once they get their first baby tooth at about 6-months of age, and then every 6 months from that point forward,” said Dr. Economos.
While your baby may only have one or two small teeth, this is the best time to get a jump start on their oral health. And, you can even start good at-home hygiene by gently brushing your baby's teeth or gums as soon as they get their first tooth.
Proper at-home care can make a big difference
“Patients should be brushing twice and flossing once every day. Brushing for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste in the morning and again before bed is recommended,” says Dr. Economos. He also adds that you should note any pain or bleeding you experience while you’re caring for your teeth. This can be an important clue for your dentist to view your overall dental health.
Dentists are here to care for more than just your teeth
Is snoring, jaw pain, or chronic dry mouth bothering you? Your dentist might be able to help! Think beyond your teeth the next time you have a dental checkup.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people may have put off regular dental checkups. If you're concerned, talk with your doctor or dentist to assess your personal risk and comfort level. If you decide routine dental care is the right option for you at this time, consider the following to keep your visit as safe as possible:
- Complete any necessary paperwork ahead of time online or through the phone to minimize time in the office.
- If required by your dentist office or if it makes you feel more comfortable, wear a face mask while in the waiting room or shared spaces. It's also important to thoroughly wash your hands before and after the appointment.
- Follow all safety measures your dentist has in place.
Dental insurance can help you save on necessary dental care
Do you have dental insurance? Do you know what your dental coverage looks like, if you do? If not, now is a great time to check in! Talk with your employer or insurance agent Opens New Window, and check out Wellmark's dental insurance options Opens New Window that may be available to you.
The next time you brush your teeth or have a dentist appointment coming up, take a minute to consider its impact on your overall health. It could be more important than you think!