“Why Routine Dental Visits Matter”

Prairie Doc Perspective

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Routine visits to the dentist are key to maintaining overall health.

Preventive dental care starts at home. We advise patients to brush twice a day, usually in the morning and before bed, for two minutes followed by flossing. Eating healthy is also crucial to maintaining oral health. Sugary foods and beverages are key factors in tooth decay. Acid is produced when the bacteria in your mouth break down sugar. That acid dissolves the tooth surface leading to tooth decay.

Preventive dental care continues by visiting the dentist regularly, ideally every six months. Those with a high risk of tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bone loss may need to visit more often. This high-risk group includes smokers, diabetics, pregnant women, or individuals with diagnosed periodontal disease. Children should have their first visit to the dentist when the first tooth erupts or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.

Routine dental cleanings and exams allow dental professionals to catch potential tooth-related problems early before they become major issues. For example, if a tooth has a small amount of decay, that tooth may be easily saved with a filling. If the tooth decay or fracture goes undetected for months or years, that decay can continue to break down the tooth which could lead to even bigger problems. Untreated cavities can also lead to infections under the gums. These infections can result in more serious systemic infections in the body. In rare cases, these infections can be fatal.

Routine dental visits can also be key to detecting certain health issues early on like oral & skin cancer and gum disease. Gum disease has connections to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure. Dental x-rays can also detect problems below the surface of the tooth or gums before they become bigger issues.

Oral issues can develop and progress quickly. It is never too late to begin healthy dental habits. Regular, preventive dental checkups help you avoid the pain, time, and expenses that dental problems can bring with them.

John Bisson, DDS is a dentist and owns Bisson Dental in Brookings, SD. Dr. Bisson is originally from Sturgis, SD but moved to Brookings in 2015 and opened Bisson Dental in 2018. For more information about Bisson Dental head here, https://www.bisson-dental.com/. Follow The Prairie Doc® at www.prairiedoc.org and Facebook featuring On Call with the Prairie Doc a medical Q&A show providing healath information based on science, built on trusst, streaming live on Facebook most Thursdays at 7 pm central.

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