You know the basics of tooth cleaning and care that everyone does: brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and try to keep your teeth cavity-free between dentist appointments. But not all oral health practices need to happen all that frequently—some can be done just once or twice annually, as a means of giving your teeth an extra boost of support and refreshing your tooth care rituals.
You don’t need dental images taken every month, and as much as we like you, we hope for the sake of your teeth to only see you a couple of times per year. Treat oral health like a New Year’s Resolution or annual check-in to help you start making better choices and forming healthier oral care habits.
Let’s take a deep dive into these three yearly tasks you can add to your calendar for an extra boost in oral health:
1. Professional Tooth Cleaning
While you’ve probably heard it said before that you should get a professional tooth cleaning twice a year, many people—especially adults—don’t keep up with this schedule easily. In fact, according to a Health Digest survey, around 42% of the population doesn’t go to the dentist twice a year. Keeping up with those biannual professional cleanings makes all the difference!
Sometimes, patients delay their appointments as a result of limited access to dental insurance. But even without dental coverage, the cost of seeing your dentist at least once a year is a lot more affordable than waiting until you have an emergency dental situation that cannot be ignored.
At a professional tooth cleaning, your dentist can perform a number of thorough cleansing processes that your regular brushing and flossing inevitably miss. Your dentist will clean, floss, and rinse your teeth extremely well and remove plaque and tartar buildup. They can also perform a fluoride treatment to help protect your teeth and increase their ability to fight off cavities.
In addition to cleaning your teeth thoroughly, your dentist will perform a physical exam to closely study your teeth for sensitive spots and at-risk zones. They can advise you on how to adjust your tooth care routine and check for signs of oral diseases like gingivitis.
2. Dental Images
About once a year, your dentist will likely want to include dental images as part of your preventative tooth care appointment. These images—or radiographs—are captured by dental X-rays and help dentists to see how your oral health is changing over time in relation to your unique teeth and gums. Dental X-rays for children help the dentist track jawbone and tooth development, informing when it may be time for orthodontic intervention. And for adults, dental images can help dentists detect oral health issues, like cavities and gum disease, before they worsen.
Dental images are also useful for tracking changes to your mouth following a facial injury, as your dentist will have pre-injury dental images as a reference point. For this reason, most people should have dental images taken annually, though pregnant women should wait until after birth because of low levels of radiation in the X-ray process.
3. Check in on Your Daily Tooth Care Routine
At least once a year, you should give your tooth cleaning and care routine a hard, honest examination. You may not be honest with your dentist about how often you floss (even though you should be—we won’t be mad!), but you can be honest with yourself. Here are some essential tooth care practices you should resolve to get into your routine and improve your dental health this year:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss at least once every day
- Change out your toothbrush at least every three months
- Inspect your teeth regularly for sensitivity or staining
- Brush your tongue with every brushing
- Use mouthwash at least once a week to catch any hard-to-reach areas
- Limit sugar, coffee, and soda intake to reduce the risk of cavities and staining
Let’s Start with Scheduling That Professional Tooth Cleaning!
You can only practice good oral health on your own so much, and it’s easy to slip into bad habits and out of good ones without a refresher every six months. If you’re due (or overdue) for a professional tooth cleaning in Kansas City, come see the Rhoades DDS family dental team! In addition to giving your teeth the full spa experience, we can have a conversation with you about best tooth care practices and answer any questions you may have regarding your teeth. Take control of your dental health and contact us today!