Delayed Dental Cleanings: Is Your Health At Risk When You Don't Have Your Teeth Checked?

When you think of dental cleanings, you might be inclined to conclude they have more to do with helping you look better than feel better, but with today's advanced scientific understanding of how the human body works and what poses a threat to its healthy functioning, it's becoming abundantly clear that a clean mouth means much more than taking a better selfie: dental health is directly related to overall well being, with significant implications for disease prevention, including those that can cut your life short.

How You Get All That Plaque In Your Mouth To Begin With

While you probably don't even want to think about the slimy microscopic organisms living in your mouth, for better health, you really have to. Even regular dental cleanings aren't capable of fending off the daily threats your mouth faces, meaning you need to know where the threats come from, so you can prevent at least some of the risk to begin with:

  1. Improper brushing: Although you may think brushing is a simple and easy to accomplish task, many people fail to complete the process as thoroughly as is required to beat plaque.
  2. Not brushing after each meal: Whether you're on the go or dining at your desk, you still need to care for teeth after every meal to combat the growth of bacteria.
  3. Consuming an excess of sugar and carbohydrates: While your diet should be balanced to keep your insides healthy, it's also important for teeth; bacteria feed on sweets and carbs, giving you more reason to opt for healthy vegetables that can clean teeth naturally as you eat.
  4. Not flossing: Only around 30 percent of people report that they floss every day, leaving the other 70 at the mercy of bacterial growth between teeth. Flossing is such a quick and easy way to maintain oral health that everyone should make it a habit.
  5. Avoiding the dentist: Especially if you spent many hours in the dentist chair growing up having teeth pulled or filled, as an adult, you may make the subconscious decision to skip the experience; however, just because there's no one telling you that you have cavities or the beginning of gum disease doesn't mean these conditions aren't flourishing in your mouth. Avoidance, in this case, may simply be delaying the inevitable.

Why A Professional Dental Cleaning Is So Important

Even if you adhere to the best oral health practices every day, three times a day, you can be certain you're leaving some plaque behind. This is why an in-depth dental cleaning is so essential, beyond the aesthetics of having a pearly white smile. That professional cleaning, even though it only happens every six months or so, serves your health and wellness in so many ways:

  • Eliminating the plaque that will transform into tartar, eating away at tooth enamel.
  • Removing the bacteria-laden goop between teeth and hidden in back teeth, which leads to bad breath.
  • Giving you a better chance at fighting cavities before they can form serious compromises on the surface of teeth, requiring even greater measures.
  • Freeing up your immune system, which is at constant work when you have a mouth full of bacteria.
  • Fighting off gingivitis, the painful gum disease that leads to swelling, bleeding, and possibly severe consequences, right down to the bones supporting your teeth.
  • Protecting your bloodstream from having plaque (from your mouth) run rampant through it, which may eventually deposit in your arteries (yikes!).

Periodontal disease has possible connections to many conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Scientists are making more and more connections between an unhealthy mouth and an unhealthy body, and you should, too. Plaque on the teeth may even affect plaque in the brain, a situation doctors believe contributes to dementia.

What To Do If You Don't Have Dental Insurance

Far too many Americans don't have some type of insurance to cover their dental needs, but that shouldn't stop anyone from seeing a dentist. If it's been a while since you've had a dental cleaning or you otherwise feel something might be amiss with your oral health, call a local dentist and explain your situation. They should be able to refer you to an organization that can help. You might also ask about a possible payment plan or sliding-scale fees, which could be tailored to your ability to pay.

Dental cleanings are not some kind of smile-brightening luxury; rather, they're a prerequisite of your good health. Not only do they stop damage in its tracks and give a dentist the opportunity to evaluate and repair your oral health, but they may very well be a means of preventing far more serious threats to your well-being you otherwise would be left vulnerable to.