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Biannual Checkups: Four Crucial Reasons Not To Miss Yours

Let’s face it. Most people don’t love going to their biannual checkup at the dentist every six months. Whether you have a tight schedule or dental anxiety, getting these regular checkups done can be all too easy to justify skipping.

That said, your regular dental checkup is one of the most important health habits you can have. Routine cleanings, preventive care, and early detection for numerous problems can all make skipping these appointments a lot more expensive in the long run, and can pose a risk to your health if a problem goes overlooked. What do we mean? Let’s take a look:

1. Plaque, Tartar and Cavities

First things first – let’s cover the basics. At every checkup, your dentist (or dental hygienist) will do a thorough examination and cleaning of your teeth. If you brush and floss regularly, they may not uncover much – but chances are still good that they’ll clean up some hard to reach spots that need a little extra attention.

In the long run, having your teeth cleaned regularly is far easier (and cheaper) than getting fillings or other dental work done. Paying the dentist a visit every six months can help rid your mouth of harmful plaque that can erode your teeth, causing cavities or worse. Even if you do end up with cavities, getting them treated sooner rather than later is always your best bet.

2. Oral Cancer Detection

Cancer is serious, and the oral variety is no exception. Thankfully, unlike some types of cancer, oral cancer is usually treatable – especially if it’s caught early! Your dentist and their staff are highly trained experts when it comes to spotting the warning signs and symptoms of oral cancer. And recognizing oral cancer early on is critical to successful treatment, so while you may not notice any of the red flags that indicate the presence of cancer, your dentist likely will.

3. Gum Disease

You’ve probably heard of gingivitis, even if it was only during a TV commercial. But gingivitis – an infection of the gums – is pretty serious. Just like tooth decay, gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar, which cause the gum to pull away from the tooth and become inflamed or infected. As the infection advances, the gum tissue pulls further away from the teeth and breaks down, sometimes leading to permanent damage. Treatment of gum disease is expensive and time consuming, and can be avoided with regular dental visits.

4. Head Check

In addition to all of the attention they’ll pay to your teeth, your dentist is going to check a lot more than just what’s on the surface. They’ll likely want to do x-rays to look for any problems beneath the surface, such as impacted teeth, bone decay, swelling, cysts or tumors. An experienced dentist will also check your head, neck and lymph nodes for any swelling or other abnormalities. Discovering warning signs in a routine checkup can lead to early detection of a potentially major issue and give you the opportunity to seek early treatment, addressing the problem before it becomes serious.

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Four All-Natural Ways to Whiten Your Teeth At Home

You’ve spent years building up the habits – brushing and flossing are just a natural part of your morning and evening routines. You visit the dentist regularly and have perfect teeth – straight, cavity-free, and healthy. And yet when you flash those pearly whites… they’re not exactly pearly or white.

Your teeth can be strong and healthy, and still be an off-white color. But don’t fret – if having a gleaming white smile is important to you, there are some chemical-free options available to help boost your smile’s glow.

1. Snack Smart

Food choices can have a big impact on your overall oral health, but when it comes to whitening, there’s one food group that you should definitely eat more of – fruits! In addition to being healthy and delicious, fruits boast natural acids that oxidize the stains on your teeth, leaving them sparkly clean. Your best bets are common choices like strawberries, apples, pears and oranges. Stay away from lemons, since their acid content is actually too high and can cause damage to the enamel of your teeth if eaten in large quantities.

2. It’s Electric!

We know – you’ve been using the same brand of manual toothbrush for your entire life and you can’t even imagine changing now! But did you know that electric toothbrushes are specifically designed with a motor powerful enough to break up stains that manual brushing can’t? If you’ve been holding out on switching to an electric toothbrush, it may be worth a shot to get those teeth clean and bright!

3. All Chewed Up

Those gum commercials might seem too good to be true, but sugarfree gum actually can have a positive effect on your oral health! Chewy foods like gum, raisins, or fruit leather all take a little more effort to eat and stimulate your mouth to produce more saliva, which acts like a natural mouthwash as it helps to wash away stains and leftover food particles.

4. Make Your Own Paste

Does your toothpaste contain baking soda? If so, that’s because baking soda is a very powerful whitening agent! But if you’re still looking to up the ante, it’s easy to make your own whitening solution with the same baking soda that’s sitting in your pantry – just mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide and spread the mixture on your teeth. Give it a few moments to work, then rinse and spit. Just remember, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can damage your enamel and gums if overused, so only put this tip to work once in a while.

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Comprehensive Dentistry Is The Only Way I Practice!

Comprehensive Dentistry is a standard of care that every patient should receive and is a principal I have practiced for more than 20 years. More than just an assessment of ones dental health, it is a sequential approach to treatment that involves many factors one of which is understanding your patients medical history before determining treatment options. Likewise, what most patients don’t understand is that your mouth is the gateway to your body and you cannot properly assess your overall health without understanding your current dental condition.

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What Shape Are Your Teeth In?

When I was a dental student, I was once given an assignment to create a tooth out of a block of wax. I spent days refining my creation, carving what I believed looked like an anatomically shaped tooth. I was happy with the finished result; however the instructor was less than pleased with my effort. Having looked at the work of my peers, it was at least encouraging to know we were in the same boat. This impressed upon me a fundamental question in dentistry: do we really know what a tooth should look like?

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