How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?

It is no surprise that visiting the dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups help keep your teeth, mouth and gums healthy. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends people visit the dentist for checkups and cleanings at least once every six months. Unfortunately, many people fail to meet this recommendation of routine dental visits.

You may think that at home maintenance for oral hygiene is enough to keep your mouth healthy, but that is certainly not the case. Dental cleanings and checkups provide more for your health than just a clean mouth and skipping those routine checkups and cleanings could take a toll on your overall health.

A recent study of 100,000 people in Taiwan’s national insurance health database showed that the people who had at least one dental cleaning were 24% less likely to suffer from a heart attack. Plus, their findings showed that the same group of people were 13% less likely to suffer from a stroke. Half the 100,000 people had at least one dental cleaning in their life, while the other half did not. Many studies have shown that the bacteria in our mouths that cause cavities and gum disease are associated with a higher risk of heart attacks and stroke. There are more than 700 strands of bacteria in our mouth, some good, some bad. The bad bacteria lead to inflammation in the mouth in the form of cavities or gum disease. Once the bacteria enter the blood stream, it can begin to increase one’s risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Properly removing harmful bacteria helps not only keep your mouth healthy but your body as well. At home maintenance of regular brushing and flossing, as well as proper nutrition, help keep this harmful bacteria at bay. However, even with the best intentions, at home oral hygiene habits are not quite enough. Over time, bacteria begin to build up on your teeth and under your gums. This buildup is referred to as plaque and can only be removed by a dental professional. Routine dental visits, at least once every six months, help remove the buildup of the plaque, further facilitating good oral hygiene. Reducing the buildup of plaque help also to lessen your risk for other health related disease, especially heart attack and stroke.

To schedule your next dental cleaning and checkup, call Smiles by Dr. Songstad. We welcome patients of the Green Hills and Belle Meade areas of Tennessee. We can not only help improve the health and beauty of your smile but are glad to be a part of improving your overall health as well.