Every 6 months the “Time for Your Checkup!” postcard inevitably hits your mailbox. But why visit the dentist twice a year? Or at all?
The biannual dental visit recommendation was designed with the “average person” in mind. Since its conception in the 18th century, dental professionals still favor this guideline. Most people can get by with one dental visit a year, but depending on your oral health history, your dentist may recommend twice a year or even more frequently if you have a history of periodontal disease. All it takes is 6 months to produce significant tartar buildup. And only a dental hygienist can remove that much buildup, according to research.
We recommend at least one dentist visit a year, but just because you (think you) can get away with it, doesn’t mean you should forego your checkups. Like hair in your shower drain, the longer you put off a cleaning, the bigger the hairball—or in this case, potential dental issue. Still not convinced? Skip the dentist and you risk missing out on these 3 things:
1. A Tropical Vacation
Would you rather pay $100 to fill a cavity and book a year-end tropical trip—or—drop $1,000 to book a year-end root canal? Waiting to take care of small problems creates bigger (and more expensive) issues down the road. Dropping cash is frustrating, but spending hundreds always trumps thousands. And think of what you can do with your leftover cash! Grab your swimsuit, because the average cost of a root canal is $900—the same price of a round trip ticket to Fiji.
2. A Health Diagnosis
Sun and sand aren’t the only things you risk missing. Your mouth is a window to the bigger picture—your body. Fortunately, your dentist has binoculars. He or she can spot symptoms of dental disease, as well as signs of more serious health conditions.
3. Your Teeth
Tooth loss in the United States is more serious than you may think. Adults lose an average of 7 permanent teeth, and 10% of seniors have ZERO teeth left. What are Americans missing (besides teeth)? States where people skip the dentist also have the highest number of toothless seniors, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. You don’t just wake up one day and have to have all of your teeth pulled. Just like the tortoise, dental disease is slow but steady—and eventually, will win the decay race (if you neglect regular care).
Now that we’ve talked you into regular dental checkups, remember to practice at-home brushing and flossing. Don’t skip the dentist and you won’t miss out on a healthy smile—or any other perks!